Friday, December 28, 2012
Making the Right Move
One hundred and thirty four. That is the sum total of minutes that Scott Sinclair has played in the Premier League since moving to Manchester City on deadline day. One hundred and thirty four minutes played by a player on whom City spent £6.2 million; one hundred and thirty four minutes for a player who up to a few months back was being touted as a potential England international. Within the space of a few weeks, Sinclair has gone from being a regular starter to not even making it to the match day squad. As far as transfers go, his hasn’t been a particularly happy one.
What makes Sinclair’s case particularly intriguing is that he has already been in this situation. His formative years were spent at Chelsea and he was good enough for Jose Mourinho to give him a start against Manchester United on the final day of the season back in 2007. Yet, even though there were many who believed in him, ultimately he had to move away in order to establish himself.
That is what he had finally managed to do at Swansea where 82 appearances spread over two seasons, including an impressive campaign in their debut season in the Premier League, signalled that his potential was finally being fulfilled. If there ever was a player who shouldn’t want to move to a club where he would at best be a squad player, you would think that it would be Sinclair.
Yet make the move he did. It might be tempting to think of Sinclair as another whose main motivation is his bank account but probably that didn’t play that big a role. It is more likely that what spurred Sinclair on was the desire to be involved in something more than a squad for whom a mid-table finish is success. He wanted to be involved with a side that is constantly challenging for honours; he wanted to prove that those who had let him go at Chelsea had made a mistake.
Increasingly, however, it is looking that it was he who made the mistake in moving to City. Asked about the situation, City’s assistant-manager David Platt replied that “When a player comes to this club, they are going to have to accept they are not going to play week in week out. Some will play more than others, but when we spoke to Scott, he knew what he was coming into, that it was a big, big squad.”
Already there are rumours that Sinclair will soon be on the move again and, although there is still time for him to make his mark, most probably it would be best for him not to hang around too long.
For now, his is a warning tale for any young player: join a big club at your own risk. Do so without looking at their track record of bringing promising players through and you risk stalling your career. And when you lose momentum when you are in your early twenties, it is very difficult to get it back.
This piece was originally published in Blueprint for Football's bi-weekly newsletter. For exclusive content, snippets of future articles and links to the best football articles around, subscribe here.