Who would you rather have in your squad if you are challenging for the Premier League title?
a) Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia
b) Marouane Fellaini
Unfortunately for Manchester City fans, Roberto Mancini chose option (a). Had he chosen (b) there is every chance City would not be seven points behind Manchester United in the league, they may be above them and they may still be in Europe too.
Back in the summer I wrote an article entitled 'Manchester City should buy Fellaini, they'd be almost unstoppable.' That was back in July and I stick by it.
"Imagine a pairing of Fellaini and Toure- Would there be a more imposing central midfield duo in the Premier League?
"Could you find a better pair to match them? It would be a real challenge. With the both of them City could continue to dominate physically and skilfully in the centre of the park, and give their more creative players extra freedom. If City are serious about retaining their title, they need to move forward and improve, not stand still."
That is exactly what they have done. While rivals United used the summer to strengthen, its hard to say City did the same. Yet they still spent £54 million on players, most of which came in a late August flurry.
Mancini had his problems with his transfer funds in the summer but he was able to spend in the end, but it was simply on the wrong targets.
Garcia may yet prove himself to be an astute buy, and we aren't writing Rodwell off either - but for a combined £31 million City fans would be forgiven for expecting the finished articles and instant improvement.
Instead they have plateaued and neither signing has really been here nor there. Fellaini on the other hand has been in sensational form this season, and while Everton would have held out for a big fee, £25 million should have done the trick.
So while Yaya Toure is off at the African Cup of Nations - and falling ill, doubt remains as to whether City can really replace him. Had they signed Fellaini there would be no such issues.
The lesson for next summer at City should be, identify players who genuinely can take the club forward, don't spend for the sake of it, and buy Fellaini before one of their rivals does.
Are you happy with Rodwell and Garcia being signed over Fellaini?
image: © nicksarebi