Santa Cruz helps Hughes put on brave face

City manager presents £17m striker as frustrations over Eto'o deal start to show, writes Ian Herbert

"It's really important that when you bring players into a club you know what they are like as characters and what they will bring to the group as a whole." Those were the words of Mark Hughes, the Manchester City manager, yesterday as he described the value of Roque Santa Cruz, the £17m new signing sitting to his left in a conference room inside City's stadium. If only Hughes could have said the same of Samuel Eto'o.

He was none the wiser as to whether the Cameroonian was willing to budge on his demands for a £12m cut of his transfer fee, as well as wages of up to £200,000 a week, in order to sign for City. "That has to be resolved by the player and the club he's at. Patience has been mentioned and we'll have to be patient," Hughes said. "If we get to a point where we feel things aren't going to happen and we feel the process is stalling and we can't move it forward, then that's the time we walk away and we've done that in the past."

Hughes' instincts should have told him that his patience is worth saving for worthier targets. Asked if a player moving to City should care for the mission, as well as the money on offer, Hughes related how he, aged 31 in 1995, had taken the same a leap of faith City are asking the Barcelona striker to make now – by joining a Chelsea side which had not won a trophy in 24 years. It was, Hughes said, "the chance to be part of something right from the beginning," and the FA Cup and Uefa Cup trophies Chelsea collected within three years were "something I really enjoyed".

On the field, Eto'o is a worker, just like Hughes. The problem is that he just does not seem to harbour any of the appetite for City that Hughes once had for Chelsea. The latest soundings from Spain are that he would take less than the wages City are offering to sign for Manchester United.

Santa Cruz is a different story. Such was the Paraguayan's determination to be prepared for his long-awaited move from Blackburn Rovers, where Hughes signed him from Bayern Munich two years ago, that he underwent surgery to clean loose bone from his troublesome knee in April. Some at Ewood Park were less than delighted since Rovers were deep in the throes of a relegation battle at the time. "I would have done long-term damage my knee if I'd carried on playing," Santa Cruz insisted yesterday.

The striker does not have such a high opinion of his own worth as Eto'o. Though Hughes referred to the player's time at Bayern as evidence of "a mentality to understand what it's like to be at a big club and the expectation that entails," he neglected to say that he rescued Santa Cruz from the sidelines there. Now Hughes is offering another new horizon.

Santa Cruz volunteered yesterday that Hughes does need not to sign Eto'o or Carlos Tevez to secure a top four finish in the Premier League next season. "With the players we have in the squad already the challenge will be to get in the top four anyway," he said. Hughes is not so confident of that time frame. He needs players – and Eto'o is not among them – who have the virtue of patience which he is preaching.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas