The sight of Christian Benteke sitting on the Eithad Stadium turf with a pained look etched across his face hit me like a tonne of bricks. Manchester City may have already been well on their way to securing all three points but the big Belgian’s enforced exit pointed towards something far more damaging than a solitary loss for the Eagles.
After a summer within which fans of the club had begged and begged for the hierarchy to sign a back-up for Christian, we were left without any new attacking signings following the closure of the transfer window. Whilst I try to maintain a level head when discussing club matters on this site, our failure to source a striker of any sort, coupled with the release of Fraizer Campbell feels like nothing more than an act of negligence from those pulling the strings behind the scenes.
For a multitude of reasons, Benteke has acted as a lightening rod for a great deal of criticism that has come the team’s way this season. With the side struggling for goals, points and confidence in general, the former Liverpool has been singled out by many in the press for looking uninterested, lazy and lacking in fight but what if he’s been playing injured all season because there’s no one on the books to step in for him? It’s a possibility and if we’re all honest, no top flight side should ever find themselves in such a bind.
Bids for Oumar Niasse (who coincidentally bagged a match-winning brace for Everton yesterday) and Besiktas’ Cenk Tosun may well have been made in the dying hours of the transfer window but why did we leave it so late given our glaring need for another striker? It just makes no sense.
Having failed to secure them, we released a young goalkeeper to make room for a free agent striker, only to later discover that none of the unattached players were deemed good enough to come in. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert in transfer policy but surely we would have evaluated the strength of the talent pool before leaving a blameless goalkeeper’s career in limbo? If the answer is no, I’m left with no option but to question the professionalism of those shifting the squad around.
I dare say a few people will take exception to the tone of this piece but Benteke’s injury felt like the straw that broke the camel’s back to me. Our supporters (the people our club love to champion as the best in the country when marketing us to foreign markets) deserve better than to be left with a squad that isn’t fit for purpose until January.
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