Reinforcements needed to boost Euro bid

Last updated : 24 January 2008 By Ben Collins
The only addition so far has been Mexican striker Nery Castillo on a year-long loan deal from Shakhtar Donetsk and Sven now has just another week to further bolster his squad for the second half of the season.

With plenty more of Thaksin's millions available, we were expecting at least a few new signings to refresh the squad as we aim to continue our excellent start and push for European qualification.

However, Castillo fractured a bone in his shoulder in just his 3rd appearance for the Blues and, as expected, summer signing Rolando Bianchi has returned to Italy on loan with Lazio so for the next month or so the City squad is actually a man down.

Although City's assistant manager Hans Backe today told the club website the Blues have a number of targets, he is unsure we will be able to prise them away from their current clubs during the transfer window.

"When you are looking at what City have done after 6 months, you have to go for the top-class players that you know can help us directly," he said.

"There's not many of them about and a lot of them are still in European competitions. We have scouted so we know what we want, but we don't know if we'll get that."

Sven's number two insisted City are not going to make any panic buys, saying: "You can't just buy for the sake of it. You have to find the right player otherwise you have to wait until the summer."

The current squad has taken us so far and Sven must be wary of tinkering with a successful formula, but the Blues are now beginning to look tired.

Sven has changed things around to freshen things up, with Vedran Corluka switching from right-back to a holding midfield role with surprising success. Nedum Onuoha has returned at right-back while Michael Ball has replaced Javi Garrido on the opposite side, with Darius Vassell now preferred up front.

But it seems clear to me this is only a stop-gap solution. We need some reinforcements. They don't have to be world-beaters, just half-decent - players who can do a job until the end of the season and keep the momentum going.

Sven has shown that investing in City's future is the priority when signing new players but I don't think many of us would object to a few short-term signings if they keep our European hopes alive.

At the moment, they are fading, and Sven must consider that missing out on Europe now would be seen as a failure and a huge disappointment to us all after getting into such a promising position.