ROQUE SANTA CRUZ hailed the chance to work with former boss Mark Hughes as the major factor in his decision to make an £18m move to Manchester City after completing the long-awaited switch yesterday.
After passing a medical the 27-year-old Paraguay striker signed a four-year deal which commits him to Eastlands until 2012.
“I know the kind of football Mark Hughes wants to play and the kind of character he is – he’s a winner, he wants to make things happen and be successful,” said Santa Cruz. “Those are always my thoughts as well, so knowing what he wants was a big factor in coming here.”
Santa Cruz enjoyed a highly successful first season in English football, scoring 23 goals for Blackburn Rovers during the 2007-08 campaign. But a niggling knee injury restricted the hitman to just 16 appearances and six goals last term.
City’s interest has been well known since the club were taken over by the Abu Dhabi United group in August. The £18m buy-out clause proved no obstacle to the billionaire owners and gave Rovers a £14m profit on the player they bought from Bayern Munich for £3.8m in 2007.
Hughes said: “We’re obviously delighted to get him here,” he said. “It was really important that we signed him, because it’s an area of the squad that we have needed to address for some time, and the qualities Roque brings will be of great benefit.”
Santa Cruz becomes Hughes’ second major capture of the summer, following midfielder Gareth Barry’s £12m move from Aston Villa.
The spending is unlikely to stop there with Manchester United forward Carlos Tevez said to be keen to move across the city and join the Blues.
A fee of £25.5m has already been agreed with the Argentinian’s owners and the player has reportedly been offered a five-year contract worth £130,000 a week.