Does Txiki Begiristain deserve a tick in the box or a ticking off, after presiding over eight transfer windows since joining Manchester City in October 2012?
With the summer transfer window creaking on its hinges ready to slam shut tonight, City’s Director of Football seems to be putting together more loan deals than Wonga, Amigo and Pounds to Pocket, combined.
Maybe he should consider changing his nickname from Txiki to Tonto – he was always working with the ’Loan Arranger’.
Admittedly Begiristain was instrumental in recruiting his ex-Barcelona team mate and big buddy, Pep Guardiola to the Etihad, and for that we should be forever grateful.
That said, Txiki has instigated or sanctioned a Manchester City spend approaching £500m over the past four years, and how much value has he really delivered?
As the clock ticks down today City are trying desperately to move Joe Hart, Samir Nasri, Eliaquim Mangala and Wilfried Bony out of the door, but at what cost?
In a nigh on insane transfer market, City appear to have the unfortunate knack of off-loading players and, at the same time offering ‘buying’ clubs more subsidies than the Greek Government get from the EU.
Why is it that City invariably have to offer cut price deals or pay a large percentage of the ongoing wages of players who leave the club?
Prima facie it appears to be a situation that afflicts City more than most.
It was understandable during the earlier days of the post Sheikh Mansour takeover when City had to spend over exaggerated sums, in terms of fees and wages, to attract players to the fledging ‘project’.
Eight years on it appears they’ll be paying the likes of Torino, Sevilla and Valencia for the privilege of having Hart, Nasri and Mangala.
As for where Bony will go, it’s as simple as ABC – Anywhere But City – but he’s rolled up at Stoke today, hopefully in a deal where the Sky Blues won’t be paying his wages to a Premier League rival, similarly enriched by Sky TV money.
So, how many players have stood the test of time, or are likely to deliver value for money during Txiki’s tenure at City?
It’s too early to judge this summer’s signings but – and it’s a big but – Guardiola will have had the final say on who comes in. That’s a marked difference in the influence wielded by Pellegrini and Mancini under Begiristain’s reign.
Five games into the season and John Stones and Nolito have already impressed. The imminent debuts of Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane and Claudio Bravo are eagerly anticipated.
Gabriel Jesus looked the part as an Olympic Gold Medal winner with Brazil and he’ll be with City in January.
Exciting prospects Marlos Moreno should be Premier League ready, along with Oleksandr Zinchenko, after going on loan to Deportivo La Coruna and PSV Eindhoven.
With Pep at the helm it would appear that even Txiki can’t go wrong in the future.
Guardiola would have had a say in the acquisitions of £54m Kevin De Bruyne and £44m Raheem Sterling last summer. KDB proved an instant success, and now Pep has City’s Number 7 under his wing, Sterling’s stock is rising rapidly.
Bacary Sagna has been a hit, albeit he arrived on a free, whereas the jury is still out on £30m Nicolas Otamendi. Fabian Delph at £8m was, and is, a ‘homegrown’ squad player and little more.
Under Txiki’s watch £30m Fernandinho, and to a much lesser degree £14m Jesus Navas, have proven to be sustainable successes.
Alvaro Negredo, at £16m made a solid 23-goal contribution in his one and only season in 2013/14 and, staggeringly, City made a profit when he was sold to Valencia for £24m.
Martin Demichelis cost £4.2m from Atletico Madrid when he could have been acquired on a free from Malaga a month earlier. Demi gave good service but went on a season too long in the Premier League.
Fernando at £12m from Porto has often disappointed and never been the dominant defensive midfielder who was supposed to be an upgrade on Javier Garcia, who was supposed to be an upgrade on Gareth Barry.
Stevan Jovetic at £22m proved a world class sick note and City are presently awaiting a £12.5m fee from Inter Milan, who themselves are looking to offload the Montenegrin after a disappointing loan season at the San Siro.
Willy Caballero at £4.4m was never a real threat to Joe Hart, despite this season’s strange shenanigans under Pep – but there’s more to that than is presently in the public domain.
Was Caballero an upgrade on Costel Pantilimon who left on a free? No, he wasn’t.
And so to today and the prospect of £42m Mangala being loaned to Valencia, with City paying 50% of his wages.
Nasri – two days after Pep said he could yet have a future at the Etihad – has flown to Spain to join Sevilla on loan, with City set to pay a substantial portion of his salary.
Hart will sign for Torino with City stumping up a figure rumoured to be as high as £90k a week – it may be viewed as pragmatic, but it’s hardly good housekeeping.
Finally we have the Bony of contention in Wilfried, the not so wonderful.
A proven Premier League goal scorer at Swansea, Bony has never fitted City’s pattern of play, and at £25m was a virtual Etihad pariah.
The Ivorian replaced Edin Dzeko, who for all his faults, DID score goals for City and often important ones at that. The big Bosnian eventually went to Roma on a permanent deal for something around £12m, a comparatively low fee.
Given Txiki’s ‘Loan Arranger’ status, I suppose City supporters should be relieved it isn’t a case of ‘Hi Ho Silva Away’ on transfer deadline day.
By David Walker
www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu