Santa Cruz moves 'home'

santa Cruz

As per the official site:

Roque Santa Cruz has returned to Blackburn Rovers on loan until the end of the season.

The 29-year-old Paraguay striker, who was signed from Rovers by Mark Hughes in July, 2009, has been unable to force his way into Roberto Mancini's team this season after recovering from injury.

I don't want to post up too much of an obituary but this does surely signal the end of Santa Cruz's City career - one that will go down as the most expensive mistake the club have made in the transfer market.

Whilst Lazio were also reported to be interested, it was likely that Santa Cruz was wary of moving from the North-West (either on a temporary or permanent) basis. Rumours of interest from Fulham was mentioned, but Ian Ladyman of the Mail tweeted that although Mark Hughes was keen, he simply couldn't take the risk on the player.

Upon completing the move, Santa Cruz said:

"I feel like I am coming home. This has been the easiest decision of my career.

"I want to get playing and scoring goals again and this is a real chance for me to prove myself after a frustrating period. Everyone knows what Blackburn Rovers means to me."

As much as the signing of Santa Cruz has turned out to be a complete disaster, it was a move that I was in favour of at the time (if conceding that the price tag was too high). Concerns of course were there over his fitness history but I felt that he was the type of player the side needed and unlike any other we had at the club at that time. Don't forget, such was the dearth of strikers at the club the season before that Felipe Caicedo shouldered the load for the most part.

Last season though Santa Cruz simply couldn't get fit and when finally did get injury free - and importantly with a World Cup and pre-season behind him - Roberto Mancini could not find a spot for him and 2010/11 saw only the the insipid display at West Brom in the Carling Cup. This of course means that his City career (to date) reads 8 starts, 4 goals. I'm sure the various calculations of goals per game/start/minute etc will surface the next few days or so.

The fact that it was only a loan deal (until the end of the season) represents a problem City have at present with a number of players. City no doubt want rid but dont want to cut players loose without recouping at least a proportion of the initial outlay. Potential suitors know this though and also know City are keen to reduce outgoings. There is therefore less risk attached by spending c£2million or so on wages for a six-month or season long deal as opposed to a transfer fee, signing bonus and then wages on top. It is a problem City will continue to face and may result in a number of loans whilst contracts are run down.

The hope though (for all concerned really) is that Santa Cruz stays injury free, posts a decent rest of the season at Blackburn and then someone bites in the summer so City can at least recoup a decent percentage of the £18 million or so that Mark Hughes paid for him some eighteen months ago.

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