Manchester City made a "dollar-menu" move today and signed Patrick Vieira. I just made up that term. It's the best I could come up with to describe a transaction where no one really benefits. Sure, with the dollar menu you get a meal for $3, but in the end, it's really just cheap fast food you are putting into your body, and you aren't really benefiting from that meal. It's a somewhat meaningless transaction. It makes sense at the time and there is usually a short term benefit, but otherwise you are not much better off than if you had just skipped the meal.
The Vieira signing is confusing to me. I don't understand why it works for either side. Vieira is struggling for playing time at Inter Milan. In 18 games this year he has only started 7 of them and come in as a sub for 5 others. He has 1 goal and 1 assist this year. Vieira is 33 years old. He's past his prime, but still feels like he can compete. He wants more playing time so that he can impress the coaches of the French National Team and earn himself a spot on the France team that goes to the World Cup this summer. That's all fine. I understand that he wants a spot on the national team and feels he can still compete. But can he contribute?
Manchester City is currently in 5th place, two points behind 4th place Tottenham. They have had a good first half, but they need an extra spark or missing piece to help them stay strong for another half season and not fade away like most wannabe contenders. I just don't know that Vieira offers that spark or gives City something that they don't already have. City only starts three midfields so I guess that Vieira can come in off the bench for Stephen Ireland or Nigel De Jong. He might start at City as De Jong isn't the greatest player, but again, I don't see how Vieira is much of an upgrade. Perhaps this will benefit Vieira as he may get more playing time, but how does City really benefit?
In an earlier post I argued that Manchester City should sign David Villa. Supposedly Valencia is shopping David Villa as they are hurting for cash. I say "supposedly" because there were various rumors over the summer about Valencia needing and wanting to sell Villa but nothing happened. The rumors have continued right before the close of the transfer window, but again it doesn't look like Villa will actually go anywhere. I thought Villa was perfect for Manchester City and I still think they should have tried to sign him. Maybe they still will. Robinho has been struggling and wants out of City. City has the money to buy him and Villa is an excellent striker that could immediately make an impact and be the help Manchester City needs to get over the hump and finish at the top of the standings.
Who knows, maybe Patrick Vieira will be perfect for City and I'll be wrong. Were this transaction three years ago and a younger Vieira was involved, it would make more sense. As it is, I don't see the reason for the move. I think it's a meal that Manchester City didn't need and could have skipped.