23 August, 2007

Hot New Imports - Manchester Edition. Watch out ladies!

Nani (United)

With a Government name like Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha, it’s no wonder that this young Portugeuse scamp has stuck with his nickname. He has shown a great deal of flair in his 3 appearances this season, coupled with a cool head and decent temperament, made even more impressive when you consider how much of a little whinger Christiano Ronaldo was when he was Nani’s age 2 years ago. Nani has already been deployed on the left and right wings for the champions, showing a real eye for goal, but has yet to hit the back of the net in the League thus far. For pre-season-related goodness though, check this immaculate chip against Far Eastern titans Guangzhou FC -

The promise and willingness is certainly there, but will he start if Giggs, Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez are all fit?

Anderson (United)

Another United starlet with a long name, Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira has not had nearly the same level of early season exposure as Nani. The Brazilian’s favoured role is that of attacking midfielder, a position where United are not exactly lacking, but given Rooney’s injury, he looks perfectly poised to step into the metaphorical breach. With less first team experience than Nani, and a history in the more open, slower Brazilian league before moving to F.C. Porto, he isn’t a dead cert to work in the Premier League, but if he can perform any of the tricks he does here, then he really could prove to be something a bit special. Bears absolutely no resemblance to ‘Who’s Line is it Anyway?’ presenter Clive Anderson by the way. Or surgically enhanced, home movie star Pamela for that matter.

Valeri Bojinov (City)

This 21 year old Bulgarian spent the formative years of his career in Italy before his transfer to the sunny North West, scoring 29 times for Lecce, Fiorentina and Juventus in Serie A. He holds the records for youngest foreign player to take the field in Serie A, and also the youngest foreigner to score in the league, but he’s got a girl’s name, so…call it even?

After decent performances for City in the opening fixtures, he unfortunately injured knee ligaments as the blue side of Manchester won the derby last weekend:

Rolando Bianchi (City)

‘Rolandinho’ is considered one of the brightest Italian striking talents and had a great showing for Reggiana last year, scoring 19 goals in Serie A, more than any English striker managed last year. When travelling to his first training session for City, he got confused and ended up at United’s facility in Carrington where much teen-movie hilarity ensued! He was subsequently removed from the facility after stripping completely nude and being sick on Sir Alex’s feet. He has since made up for this accidental slight however by scoring in City’s first game of the season, tapping in Elano’s measured cross against West Ham.

Javier Garrido (City)

The dreamy Basque has started at left back for Real Sociedad in La Liga since he was 19, giving him 3 full seasons under his belt in the top flight at the age of just 22. He now looks to be the starter at Man City for the foreseeable future, after Chris Coleman accepted that Sociedad’s relegation last season was too much for the promising Iberian to endure.

Geovanni (City)

Geovanni Deiberson Mauricio dribbles, runs and shoots like a true Brazilian, and has been the key to City’s early success this year. His goals against United and West Ham were decisive, and he has been instrumental in the new slick passing game on display at the City of Manchester stadium. When he first moved to Barcelona, he didn’t cause a storm, but it was his strong play for Benfica in domestic competitions and the Champions League (especially against United) that must have caught Sven’s eye. He was known as ‘sleepy’ by his Benfica team mates, due to his laid back nature, rather than his pace, but I’m sure the City fans will come up with a much cleverer nickname for him. Something catchy like ‘that well good Brazilian. No, not him, the other one.’

Elano Blumer (City)

Part of the new generation of Brazilian talent, Elano has already been singled out by national coach Dunga as a future world superstar and who am I to argue with the great Hawaiian-shirted legend? Following a relatively slow start at FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Elano has since established himself as a truly exciting ‘hole’ player, who could have an instrumental impact in the English top flight this season, pulling the strings for City, if the team can continue their great run of form.

Vedran Ćorluka (City)

Given the daunting epithet of ‘the most beautiful Croatian footballer,’ Ćorluka has always been a promising talent, beginning his career in the Dinamo Zagreb youth team at the tender age of just 8. After just two seasons of regular football with the Croatian champions, his £8 million fee might seem extortionate, but with a full international debut now under his belt, the 21 year old full back is certainly one to watch for the future.

Martin Petrov (City)

Not to be confused with fellow Bulgarian Stiliyan Petrov, Martin has been dubbed 'the new Hristo Stoitchkov' because of his fiery temperament and a powerful left-foot. An attacking midfield player capable of setting up or scoring a goal out of nothing, Petrov has blistering pace as well as good close control, proving himself over two excellent seasons at Athletico Madrid. Desite being sent off after just 8 minutes in his international debut, and crying about it, he now has an impressive 15 international goals in 66 appearences earning him the lofted prize of Bulgarian Footballer of the Year 2006.