That the Etihad club’s movers and shakers were prepared to gamble such a large transfer fee on a 20-year-old winger who is not yet the finished article, shows just how difficult it is for even wealthy clubs to recruit serious A-list talent
Does the name Rolando Bianchi ring any bells? Even distant ones? In all honesty, the help of a search engine was required to jog this old brain about the kind of summer purchase that dominated the thoughts of Manchester City’s movers and shakers prior to the Abu Dhabi United Group takeover.
Rewind to 2007, the age of Sven-Göran Eriksson, Thaksin Shinawatra and a curious and half-baked first attempt at an internationally-owned City revamp. The club blew about £40m on a range of players that summer, the most expensive of which was Bianchi, a 6ft 2in striker who joined from Reggina for £8.8m. He scored on his debut as it happened, but optimism soon fizzled out. By January he was so unsettled he was allowed to leave, and returned to his homeland to pick up a modest career.