Here's Manchester City’s first 7 signings following Sheikh Mansour’s takeover: Where are they now?
7. Robinho - Sivasspor
Manchester City’s takeover by Middle Eastern billionaire Sheikh Mansour was only actually completed on transfer deadline day, you may remember, which only gave them time to sign one player before the window slammed shut. Initially, the club were heavily linked with hijacking Manchester United’s move for Dimitar Berbatov, followed by links with David Villa and Mario Gomez.
In the end, Berbatov signed for United, and City turned their attention to Real Madrid star Robinho. The Brazilian former wonderkid had been linked with a move to Chelsea, but City made him their first marquee signing in a £32.5 million deal, a British record transfer fee at the time. Robinho was City’s top scorer in his first season in the Premier League, but he failed to light the league up in the way the club had hoped, and he was promptly sold the following season.
Now aged 34, Robinho’s career has never reached the heights many once thought it would, and he is currently playing for Sivasspor in Turkey whilst facing a sexual assault conviction from Italian courts.
6. Wayne Bridge - Reality TV & Poker
Wayne Bridge of Reading attacks during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading v Watford at The Madejski Stadium on August 13, 2013 in Reading, England.
A fantastic full-back who is unfortunately better remembered for a dodged handshake and the reasons behind it than his playing ability, Wayne Bridge’s career was seriously hindered by the talents of Ashley Cole, who typically played ahead of him for both club and country. The former Southampton man was Manchester City’s second signing of the Sheikh Mansour era when they brought his six year association with Chelsea to an end. Bridge cost the club £10 million, but he played only 58 games for Manchester City before being replaced by the likes of Aleksandar Kolarov and Gael Clichy. Now aged 38, Bridge retired in 2014 and now has a number of interests outside of football, ranging from professional poker to reality TV, such as his appearance on the 2016 edition of ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’.
5. Craig Bellamy - Cardiff City Youth Coach & Pundit
The third of Mark Hughes’ signings following Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City was a man the Welshman knew well, compatriot Craig Bellamy. The former Liverpool forward had played under Hughes at both Blackburn Rovers and the Welsh national team, and City forked out £14 million to bring him from West Ham to Manchester. Bellamy managed 15 goals in 51 games for the Citizens, but saw his game time significantly limited following Hughes’ dismissal. The industrious forward retired in 2014, becoming youth team coach at Cardiff City, a role which he still holds as well as being a familiar face on Sky Sports.
4. Nigel de Jong - Al Ahli
Nigel De Jong of Mainz walks on the pitch with a mascot and a shirt against discrimination for the campaign 'Say No to prejudice', an anti-discrimination campaign, before the Bundesliga...
A man with nicknames ranging from ‘the Lawnmower’ to ‘the Destroyer’, who should have been sent off in a World Cup final for karate kicking Xabi Alonso in the chest, there are no secrets about what type of player Nigel de Jong is. Whatever you think of his rugged style though, the Dutchman is a dogged and determined midfielder who didn’t rack up 81 caps for the Netherlands by accident. He joined Manchester City from Hamburg for £16 million, one of four January 2009 signings made by the free-spending Sky Blues. De Jong amassed more than a century of Premier League appearances at the Eithad, and the Dutch grafter’s tough tackling made him a firm fan favourite, as he helped City win their first FA Cup and first Premier League titles under their new regime.
The 33-year-old has since played for AC Milan, LA Galaxy, Galatasaray and Mainz, but he joined the likes of Xavi and Wesley Sneijder in Qatar with a move to Al Ahli in July 2018.
3. Shay Given - Derby County Goalkeeping Coach
A two-time PFA Team of the Year inclusion and one of the finest goalkeepers of the Premier League era, Shay Given is best associated with his 11 and a half year stint at Newcastle United. He left the Magpies to sign a lucrative four-and-a-half year deal at Manchester City, just a few months shy of his 33rd birthday. Given was very good as City’s first choice in his first season and a half in Manchester, but Joe Hart’s excellent form on-loan at Birmingham City left Roberto Mancini with a decision to make. The Italian went for youth over experience, and Given’s days at the Etihad were numbered. He went on to play for Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Stoke, before hanging up his gloves in 2017 and becoming Frank Lampard’s goalkeeping coach at Derby County in the summer.
2. Gareth Barry - West Brom
Gareth Barry of West Bromwich Albion applauds the crowd after his record 633rd Premier League appearance following the Premier League match between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion at...
Wimbledon and Barnsley were both still Premier League clubs when Gareth Barry began his professional football career at Aston Villa, and the former England international, who has more appearances in the Premier League than any other player, is still going strong with West Brom at the age of 37. An often underrated footballer whose game changed greatly when he left Aston Villa for Manchester City, Barry cost the Citizens £12 million after a prolonged transfer saga. He gave four seasons of decent, steady, consistent and just generally very Gareth Barry-like service to City, winning one Premier League title and one FA Cup. He followed that up with four similar seasons at Everton, before joining current club West Brom last summer.
1. Roque Santa Cruz - Club Olimpia
The seventh signing of the Sheikh Mansour era, and the second most expensive trailing only Robinho, Roque Santa Cruz joined the club from Blackburn Rovers for £18 million. In a move which made a lot of sense given the Paraguayans exceptional form under Mark Hughes at Ewood Park, it made rather less sense when City sacked Hughes and replaced him with Roberto Mancini in December. The likes of Carlos Tevez, Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor were all preferred to Santa Cruz, who left the club having scored 3 goals in 20 Premier League games. Now in the twilight of his career aged 37, the former Bayern Munich man returned to Paraguay in 2016, where he still plays for boyhood side Club Olimpia.