It may have been a protracted affair but it was finally brought to a conclusion yesterday evening with it being announced that the deal to bring Edin Dzeko to City from Wolfsburg had been completed.
City's interest stretches back to at least last summer, but talks of a £45 million transfer fee deterred City. However, Wolfsburg's poor first-half to the season (trailing in the league and out of all Cup competitions) prompted a rethink and City have landed the Bosnian forward for a fee of £27 million.
Dzeko spoke following the conclusion of the deal, saying:
Manchester City are playing for first place in the Premier League and that is what I want. Everybody speaks about City having lots of money but it is not about that. It is about ambition. I have spoken to the manager [Roberto] Mancini and he told me: 'This is the best club for you.' They have been playing well this season. I have watched them a lot on television. Now the speculation is over and I just want to do my best."
As a player, I haven't seen a great deal of Dzeko but as mentioned in this post those opinions I do value suggest City have got themselves a very good player indeed. Key attributes appear to be good with both feet, strong in the air, possessing a physical presence and decent, if not superb, pace. Aligned with this is an excellent attitude and the feeling was that if he can settle quickly and get off the mark quickly in terms of goals, he could well be a difference maker in terms of pushing for the title.
It will be interesting to see where Roberto Mancini plans to deploy Dzeko. The 4-5-1 has worked well this season, with it suiting Carlos Tevez perfectly: providing the space Tevez thrives on, allowing him to drop deep and draw defenders out of position. This also allows wide players to drift in and support him rather than a more central partner who takes this space away.
Mancini has played a more conventional 4-4-2 this season (with Emmanuel Adebayor partnering Tevez) but with limited success and given the way he lines up his midfield I don't see this being deployed too often. What may be a preferred formation (given it is inconceivable Tevez is dropped to the bench) is for a diamond midfield - Nigel de Jong holding, Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry central and David Silva at the tip of the quartet - with Tevez floating behind Dzeko who will operate as the most advanced forward. This is something we have seen Tevez fit in with before, both at City, but mainly at United. This of course will adjust the midfield from what we have seen and place more emphasis on the full-backs in an attacking sense, but could well be something Mancini has had his heart on from the start of the season.
So, there are plenty of options ahead for Mancini, but what it does obviously do is strengthen the forward line which, whilst possessing plenty of depth, is something he is not overly enamoured with. Behind Tevez there is very little. Mario Balotelli has played more centrally, but is favoured as more of a wide player. There are three other options of course: Jo, Roque Santa Cruz and Adebayor. Jo, when played, has been on the left hand side but may have damaged his standing with the performance at Arsenal whilst Santa Cruz (ironically finally fit) is unfavoured and Adebayor may again be persona non grata after appearing to impress earlier in the season.
Before January is out, it does seem that both Santa Cruz and Adebayor will be playing their football elsewhere, an even if it is only deals until the end of the season their long term futures lie away from the club.
Although signed too late to feature tomorrow at Leicester, Dzeko will come into contention for a start at Wolves a week on Saturday (15th).