Jack Rodwell & 5 Promising Careers That Went Backwards at Man City


There have been many Manchester City success stories since the club became a money pit for foreign billionaire owners - firstly for Thaksin Shinawatra in 2007, and then from 2008 for Sheikh Mansour's Abu Dhabi United Group.

City have won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and a League Cup. They've signed some of the world's best players to make it happen, and now find themselves seasonal regulars in the most fanciful club competition of them all, the Champions League. Oh, and they've invested millions in a state-of-the-art training complex that will reportedly open this October.

Quite the transformation for a club that was relegated to England's third tier as recently as 1998, but not everybody along for the ride has benefitted from City's cash-infused transformation. 

The following players were signed to play their part in the revolution, but it just didn't happen - or hasn't happened yet. If anything, their careers went backwards.

 

1. Jack Rodwell

When Roberto Mancini signed Rodwell from Everton, in August 2012, he arrived as a 21-year-old many expected to feature prominently for England at the World Cup in Brazil.

Rodwell had already proved his Premier League pedigree, and his raw talent was obvious, but two seasons later he's no closer to breaking into City's midfield and a good deal further away from starting in England's.

Injuries have played their part, but there's also the fact City continue to buy talented midfielders to push Rodwell further down the pecking order. Fernando is the most recent to join; Fernandinho another to be ushered in since Rodwell signed.

According to The Times, Manuel Pellegrini considered sending Rodwell out on loan in January, before finalling allowing him to leave permanantly this week. It's probably best for all concerned that his proposed move to Sunderland is quick and final.

 

2. Shay Given

Given was signed by Mark Hughes on February 1, 2009, departing Newcastle with a view to winning trophies and joining a club the goalkeeper said was "really going places".

At 32, it could have heralded the best years of his career, but Given enjoyed just one season as City's first-choice keeper before being usurped by Joe Hart and left to watch on from the sidelines. 

In the summer of 2011, the Republic of Ireland international joined Aston Villa, though he spent a chunk of last season on loan with Middlesbrough in the Championship.

 

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3. Scott Sinclair

Winger Sinclair was 23 when he joined City in August 2012, arriving on the back of an impressive season with Swansea and with the suggestion his elevation to senior England duty was a matter of formality. For all his potential, however, there was always the suggestion City might have less than an urgent need for his services.

Hindsight confirms both parties made the wrong choice. Mancini rarely picked Sinclair, and having been frequently pestered about it by the player himself, ultimately admitted his signing was a mistake.

A loan move to West Brom was sanctioned by Pellegrini last season, but Sinclair hardly caught fire there either, and now finds himself back in preseason training with City. Speculation suggests he wants out, and with City's attacking riches in midfield getting stronger by the transfer window, a move away might represent his most sensible option at this stage,

 

4. Jô

Brazilian striker Jô was Mark Hughes' first City signing, lured from CSKA Moscow for a club-record £18 million in the summer of 2008, after the 21-year-old had lit up the Russian league. Hughes called it a "coup". 

Three years later, Jô left for Internacional having scored just 11 goals for City and with the hype around him considerably diminished. A move to Atletico Mineiro sparked his return to Brazil duty for the World Cup, but you sensed a distinct lack of excitement from home fans at that fact.

Brazilian football expert Tim Vickery has written about Jô's lack of maturity at City - a "delayed adolescence" prompted by his rapid rise and the riches that accompanied it. The striker may yet have his time at a big club in Europe, but it was a case of too much, too soon, in Manchester.

 

5. Roque Santa Cruz

Another £18 million South American striker to finish, this time Paraguay international Roque Santa Cruz. After arriving from Blackburn in June 2009, Santa Cruz reunited with Hughes and was billed as the man to fire City to a first Premier League title.

City committed to a four-year deal, a good amount of which of which Santa Cruz spent on loan at Blackburn, Real Betis and Malaga. In 2013 he finally said goodbye to Manchester on a free contract to join Malaga permanently.

To say it didn't quite work out would be something of an spectacular understatement. Santa Cruz left City with his stock dramatically down and to forever be considered for lists of the club's worst ever transfers.

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