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Manchester City’s Top Ten Worst Striker Signings

A Look Back At Some Of The Biggest Failures To Play In Blue

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

It may not be common knowledge but Manchester City were never as good as they are today. I know, that’s a massive shock isn’t it? Part of reason is because the strike force was never up to much. From as far back as I remember, City have always had some dodgy strikers who couldn’t hit a barn door from ten yards.

So let’s take a look back and see the strikers that didn’t quite make the grade in Manchester blue and white.

10 Tony Adcock

Tony Adcock joined City in the summer of 1987. The striker was prolific for Colchester United and scored 98 goals in 210 appearances for the U’s and was a one time target for First Division Liverpool. Adcock broke his leg before Liverpool made an offer and the striker stayed with Colchester for another two seasons before joining Mel Machin’s side for £75,000. Unfortunately, Adcock couldn’t live up to his goal scoring exploits and the form of Paul Stewart and Imre Varadi kept him out of the team.

Adcock scored 8 goals in 16 appearances, however his first goal for the club came in November 1987 when he scored a h hat-trick at home to Huddersfield Town. Three days later he bagged another hat-trick against Plymouth Argyle, but could only find the net on two further occasions and subsequently moved to Northampton Town in exchange for Trevor Morley.

9 Bernardo Corradi

Exactly what manager Stuart Pearce saw in the Italian striker is anyone’s guess and is part of the reason City scored just ten times at home through the whole of the 2006/07 season. And it says something when your top scorer ends up being Joey Barton!

The Italian scored three league goals in 25 appearances, with two of those coming against Fulham. Corradi was also sent off twice in his short career – once on his debut at Chelsea and the other in the Manchester derby, meaning he was sent off as many times as league matches he scored in. As soon as Sven arrived, it was arrivederci to Corradi.

8 Roque Santa Cruz

This big Paraguay striker was a hit at Blackburn Rovers under manager Mark Hughes, so when the former United striker took charge at City, he made Santa Cruz his number one target. The striker joined the blues in the summer of 2009 for a fee of around £18m and Rovers must have laughed all the way to the bank before the ink had even dried.

The striker scored his first Premier League goal for the club during a 4-3 win over Sunderland, but hours after the match, Hughes was sacked by the club. Santa Cruz scored just one more league goal for City before being shipped out on loan, then eventually to Malaga on a permanent transfer.

7 Rolando Bianchi

Another Italian to arrive and quickly vanish was Rolando Bianchi. With money to spend, Sven Goran Erikssen decided to make Bianchi his first signing at a cost of £8.8m.

Bianchi scored on his debut at West Ham and…that was about it. He made 19 appearances and scored just four times before being loaned out to Lazio and eventually secured a permanent move to Torino.

6 Barry Conlon

No one knows where he came from. No one knows where he went. No one knows quite what he did. The big striker could have joined Middlesbrough and spared City fans the pain, but instead he joined the blues and…well…that was that.

He made a substitute appearance as the blues thrashed Swindon Town 6-0 and set up Lee Bradbury to score but after that…

5 Gerry Creaney

City had a habit of either selling or swapping the players the fans love the most, and when Brian Horton and the City board thought it was a good idea to give Portsmouth Paul Walsh and £500k to Portsmouth for Gerry Creaney, it was never going to end well.

Walsh had struck up a good partnership with German striker Uwe Rosler and the goals were flowing, so naturally City wanted to put a stop to that. Four goals in 21 appearances saw City dive further down the league and the striker ended up out on loan before joining St Mirren.

4 Jo

This Brazilian striker was signed by the blues following the dismissal of Sven Goran Erikssen and was manager Mark Hughes’ first signing.

Jo was signed for a then club record of £19m having scored 44 goals in 77 games for CSKA Moscow. “I think everybody will enjoy watching him play.” How wrong can one person be? Jo scored one goal in 21 league appearances. It doesn’t take a genius to work out his goal to cost ratio.

3 Christian Negouai

Signed by Kevin Keegan in 2001, Negouai spent four years at City, making nine appearance in total, scored two goals, underwent two knee operations and replaced Danny Mills in a match against Everton for three minutes before he was sent off.

Just don’t mention his name around the ground, we still have nightmares.

2 Vicente Matias Vuoso

Manager Kevin Keegan felt strongly enough about this Argentine born striker that he paid £3.5m for him…then never played him in the first team. Arriving from Independiente in the summer of 2002, Vuoso failed to make one solitary appearance for the blues and left after just one year, ironically enough to join future boss Sven Goran Erikssen at Mexican side Santos Leguna.

1 Lee Bradbury

Lee Bradbury should ideally be entered into the Urban Dictionary under the term ‘unmitigated disaster.’ Did you see England get thrashed? It was a proper Lee Bradbury.

At the time, manager Frank Clarke must have thought that 15 goals in 54 matches was good enough to blow £3m on and promptly signed the striker from Portsmouth. Shortly afterwards, his career tumbled as he struggled to make an impression at Maine Road. His debut was, ironically against Portsmouth where the two sides drew 2-2 and Bay Buy…sorry Bradbury only managed six league goals all season, which is the equivalent to £500k per goal!