Man City's biggest own goal: A decade-long transfer policy failure

There comes a time during any revolution when those wanting to overthrow the status quo need to assess if they have the firepower, the arms and the force to enable them to override the current leaders. And if they don't, if they need more firepower, more arms and more force to enable change at the top, the recruitment of that force needs to be measured and considered.

Here lies the problem facing Roberto Mancini and Manchester City, a club with a long history of recruiting the wrong kind of cavalry. Their current men-at-arms are the ever-controversial Mario Balotelli, the rangy but disappointing Edin Dzeko, the short but explosive Kun Aguero and the rotund golfer Carlos Tevez.

Earlier this week it was implied and quickly denied that Balotelli had played his last game for the club, and it's not beyond the realms of possibility that all four will have left by September, given the revolving door at Eastlands and Real Madrid's covetous glances at Aguero.

City have never been a club to do things quietly, and they have flirted with both disaster and glory ever since their return to the Premier League with Kevin Keegan in 2002. In that decade a succession of managers, directors and chairmen have continually spent money on strikers who have rarely turned out to be suitable.

On their return to the Premier League, the citizens purchased Nicolas Anelka, Matias Vuoso and Alioune Toure to complement existing strike pair Shaun Goater and Darren Huckerby. Since then, City have recruited Robbie Fowler, Andy Cole, Darius Vassell, Georgios Samaras, Paul Dickov (again), Bernardo Corradi, Rolando Bianchi, Valeri Bojinov, Felipe Caicedo, Benjani, Robinho, Jo, Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz, Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero.

Of those 21(!) strikers signed over the 10 seasons it's hardly unfair to say that only Nicolas Anelka, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and possibly Benjani for his derby-day heroics, have been storming successes. And even of those magical four, the current Tevez situation does the recruitment staff at City no favours.

While the remainder of those strikers haven't all been total disasters – with an honourable mention to Robinho, the marquee signing that arguably made the rest of the Abu Dhabi-fuelled imports possible – the litany of partial or complete failures shows the suits' strike-rate to have been as wasteful as most of their purchases.

With the in-form and ever-improving John Guidetti returning from his Feyenoord loan in summer – and Emmanuel Adebayor's Spurs loan ending with two years still to run on his Eastlands contract – City may not need to hit the market hard, despite being linked with names like Gonzalo Higuain and Robin van Persie

However, should they feel the need to recruit more top-line troops, they'll need a more measured approach to acquire the firepower needed to complete the revolution.

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