Vieira signs! Cristian Ansaldi to follow?
The official site has confirmed Patrick Vieira as the first signing by Roberto Mancini. The French international signed a six-month contract with the option of a further 12 months.
City now possess holding midfielders for a remarkable three countries heading to the World Cup with Gareth Barry (England) and Nigel de Jong (Holland) already here. Vieira knows that if he stays fit and play games then Raymond Domenech will pick him.
More important for City is whether Vieira can still do a job at the top end of the Premier League. Mancini knows him from their title winning time at Inter and believes he can.
“Patrick is a world class midfielder with a winner’s mentality and will fit into this group very well.”
“He also knows what the Premier League is all about. He will not need much time to settle in.”
Equally significant is that Vieira knows Mancini’s management qualities and chose to come to City. A move to Lyon was on the cards and playing in the French league may have been a safer bet for someone looking to get games in which they can look good.
Presumably City offered more money, but Vieira must also have been up for the challenge.
With City likely to be facing two games a week, there will be a need for squad rotation to keep Barry and de Jong fresh. Since his return from injury, Vincent Kompany hasn’t looked overly impressive in midfield, and Mancini appears to see Vieira as a better bet, in the short term at least.
Kompany has done well in the centre of defence, and his strength in the air should guarantee him a starting spot in the absence of Lescott. It will be interesting to see if City now go on to sign that “commanding centre half” many pundits think we need. Finding one better than Kompany in January may not be easy.
A more likely signing is Cristian Ansaldi, the 23-year-old Argentinian left-back currently impressing with Rubin Kazan. I wrote earlier in the week how Mancini might be looking at him as an alternative to Cristian Chivu of Inter. Unfortunately Chivu fractured his skull on Wednesday, and there have since been reports in Russia that City have agreed a deal for Ansaldi.
While the press are preoccupied with Vieira, the signing of Ansaldi could be more interesting. The Argentine has his best years ahead of him, and should provide strong competition to Wayne Bridge. He’s little known in this country, but is said to be good going forward.
As for Vieira, let’s reserve judgement until we’ve seen him play a few games. Hopefully he can do a job as a holding midfielder, while in the dressing room his “winning mentality” can take us to a trophy or two.