ROBERTO MANCINI may have kept Craig Bellamy out of the clutches of his Premier League rivals, but he’s also thrown Cardiff City into the spotlight.
Bellamy’s shock loan move to his hometown club makes perfect sense for both clubs. Mancini keeps a tight grip on him while protecting his title chances, while Dave Jones at Cardiff has a quality player on his books, capable of scoring 20-plus goals in the Championship.
But it’s the agreement between the clubs with regards to Bellamy’s wages which is causing the biggest debate – and in particular Cardiff’s ability to pay.
Quite rightly, Motherwell issued a writ against the Welsh club for the £175,000 outstanding for the sale of Paul Quinn last year. Cash-strapped Cardiff failed to pay £100,000 in January and still owe the rest, but with the Bluebirds’ balance sheet now very much under the microscope, you can bet your bottom dollar the matter will be resolved in double-quick time. If they don’t then it could lead to a furore.
As for City, the signings of Mario Balotelli and James Milner have given fans at Eastlands further reason for optimism, but, for me, the main man in determining how far City can go this season is Mancini himself.
Like several of his new team-mates, Milner has been brought into a rotation system which he is not particularly used to, and it will be interesting to see how his form deals with that.
As for Mancini, he will have a dressing room of 25 egos desperate to prove themselves, and keeping them happy will not be easy.