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The end for Robinho?

Official confirmation of the move:
The Club can confirm that it has reached agreement with Santos for Robinho to join them on a six-month loan. The agreement takes immediate effect and ends on August 4.

Santos will assume all of the player's contract terms, including wages and bonuses. Robinho will travel to Brazil on Sunday to begin his loan period.

Manager Roberto Mancini said: "Robinho is someone who needs to be playing regularly and we wish him well for the period of his loan."

Perhaps the only surprise coming out of this is the sentance; "Santos will assume all of the player's contract terms, including wages and bonuses" as it initially appeared that we would still be on the hook for the majority of Robinho's wages. Reports of having first option on promising youngsters has been suggested and it would be interesting to look at exactly how Santos are funding his contract given the fact Brazilian clubs - despite the presence of Ronaldo, Adriano and Roberto Carlos - have nowhere the resources to match their European counterparts.

Judging by the thread on the MEN story of the move it has really polarised fans and likewise with the poll here on Bitter and Blue. The most talented since Kinkladze or a complete dud?

His early days at the club were headline-grabbing from the moment he arrived on deadline day in August 2008. A goal on debut against Chelsea and individual moments of quality were the theme and a hero was born. As the winter closed in though, so did his early form. A loss of form coincided with poor results and the pressure grew on Mark Hughes. Away games brought new lows and the criticism grew as his effectiveness dwindled and reports of a rift between him and Hughes surfaced.

The 2009/10 season began and it was clear that Robinho was no longer first choice for Hughes. Struggling to regain the highs of the previous year, he spent time on the bench and on the rare opportunities he had was ineffective and perhaps most criminal for City fans, appeared not to have the required desire. After coming back from injury, he had a couple of opportunities under Roberto Mancini, who talked of him being an important player.

The nadir was perhaps reached though during the 2-0 defeat at Everton, when having been introduced as an early substitute for the injured Roque Santa Cruz, he suffered the indignity of being himself substituted later in the game. How the media pounced. With rumours of a move to Brazil surfacing, he was left out of the squad for the trip to United this week before the loan deal was announced this afternoon.

World Cup year or not, what Robinho needs is a consistent run of games to get himself back in the shape and form that he was in over the first half of last season, when he was a genuine game changing player and proved the undoubted quality that he has. The difficulty this season as opposed to last is given the strengthening of the squad in the attacking positions there is very little scope for him to get the opportunity for a consistent run. Last season of course, there was no Martin Petrov to challenge on the left and Craig Bellamy only arrived at the end of January. Realistically, there is no way he beats either player out on current form, and it is inconceivable that would change between now and the end of the season.

I do view the situation as somewhat of a romantic in that to all but throw in the towel on a player who is a real game changer and as captivating to watch as Robinho is a real shame and cling to the hope that he can become an integral part of our push for success both over the remainder of 2009/10 and beyond.

Although it is a loan deal that has been agreed, it is difficult to see a future for him at the club. Had a side been willing to pay a suitable fee to facilitate a permanent move, it is certain that a transfer would have been agreed. As it stands, on August 4th he is slated to return to Manchester yet will surely never pull on the blue shirt again.

As much as the hope is he could somehow come back revitalised and ready for 2010/11, unfortunately the history of football is littered with big name high profile examples of players at clubs who, for one reason or another, just failed to make it work.

It now appears that the name of Robinho will be the next to join that list.