Roberto Mancini remains baffled at the decision to deny highly-rated Kenyan midfielder McDonald Mariga a work permit on transfer deadline day.
With a deal in place and personal terms agreed, the deal to bring Mariga to the club collapsed when he was denied the papers to work in the UK and player subsequently joined Inter Milan. The Blues’ boss reckons Inter’s gain is very much City and the Premier League’s loss.
“We had two or three targets but our main aim was to bring Mariga to the club,” said Mancini. “We couldn’t see any problems so to have the panel rule against granting him a work permit is, I believe, an incredible decision.
“He is a young player and Kenya’s most important footballer and considering he’s played in Sweden and Italy for the past six years and with relations between Kenya and Britain strong, I just cannot understand why he had his application was refused.
“All the top teams in Italy and many others in Europe wanted him so it is very disappointing when we had agreed a deal.”
While missing out on Mariga has been a source of frustration for the manager who was keen to add to his midfield options, at least he has a couple of players returning from injury who can lighten the workload mainly shouldered by Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong for much of the campaign.
“Things are improving with Patrick Vieira and Wayne Bridge recovering from injury and when Micah Richards returns, we also have the option of playing Pablo Zabaleta in midfield, too,” he said.
We need a full squad to choose from with four games in 10 days coming up. They may not be teams challenging at the top of the table, but they will all be difficult matches – perhaps more so than the teams in the top six.
“Hull are not easy to beat on their own pitch, as they proved by holding Chelsea to a draw this week, and they will provide a stiff test for us. We need to play with concentration and heart because they will fight hard and we have to be ready for that.”
Mancini also hinted there could be debuts for Patrick Vieira and Adam Johnson at the KC Stadium.
“It’s possible Patrick could be involved because he’s trained with us for the past two days with no problems, but we’ll decide tomorrow if he plays on Saturday,” concluded the manager.
“Adam Johnson is a good young player and we’re very happy to have him here. He is settling in quickly and again it is possible he could also play.”