The Robinho conundrum for Man City

Since returning to Santos in January on a six-month loan deal, Robinho has been in excellent form for the Brazilian side and looks like a completely different player to the one we saw at Manchester City earlier this season. The most expensive signing in Premiership history, Robinho may want to stay in Brazil when his loan move expires but this isn’t a realistic possiblilty, with Santos unable to find the funds to keep him in Brazil. With that in mind, will we see Robinho in a Man City shirt next season or should the club just cut their losses and sell the temperamental Brazilian?

Since joining from Real Madrid for £32.5 million in 2008, Robinho has at times been breathtaking, tearing the opposition apart in one game and then being completely anonymous in the next. The Brazilian scored 14 goals for City last season, becoming their top scorer for the campaign and generally adapting pretty well to the Premiership. Earlier this season, due to the arrivals of Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor at Eastlands, Robinho struggled to claim a regular first-team spot and a lack of form and poor attitude saw him only score 3 goals in 12 games for City.

Robinho joined his former club Santos in January to improve his chances of going to the World Cup and has been in tremendous form, scoring 5 goals in 9 games, and using his vast array of tricks and skills to full effect and scoring some spectacular goals. It can be said that the standard of the Brazilian league is not the same level as the Premiership, but his form for Santos shows that when Robinho is at his best, he is a world class player that could walk into any side in the world.

The Brazilian hasn’t exactly endeared himself to City though while he has been in Brazil. Robinho has repeatedly stated he wants to make his move permanent, has said that his Santos teammates are better than those he had at City and Real Madrid, and has told Santos wonderkid Neymar not to bother joining City or Chelsea, after both sides were linked with the 18 year old Brazilian prodigy. Robinho may want to join Santos, but they cannot afford to sign him on a permanent basis; they can barely afford to cover his £160,000 a week wages. With that in mind, will we ever see Robinho in a City shirt again?

Brazilian and City compatriot Sylvinho has spoken out about Robinho’s future, with the defender saying last week:

“I don’t know. I think his mentality is in Santos now and after that he’s going to be at the World Cup and I wish luck to him and the national team. The future is really difficult to say.”

There is no doubt that Robinho possesses great skill, technique and is an exceptional talent. A properly motivated Robinho could be a real asset to City next season, as an attacking trio of Tevez, Adebayor and Robinho would be a devastating combination. If Champions League football comes to City then it could motivate him to do well for the club and work hard for the team. Robinho is a completely different player to Tevez and we will never see him duplicate the work rate of the Argentine striker, but if he wants to be at the club and is willing to fight for his place then he could be a great asset to have in the Premiership and Europe.

The major problem surrounding Robinho is his attitude, as he can be a disruptive influence and be bad for team morale. Last season, the Brazilian was effective at City because he was the star man, who the team was built around and Robinho is a player that needs to be idolised to be at his best. With Tevez, Adebayor and Bellamy in the team this season, Robinho was one of many star names at City and he didn’t like that, as it needs to be all about him. If Roberto Mancini can get Robinho motivated and keep him happy, be a squad player and not start every game, then he has a future at Eastlands. If not, he will likely be sold in the summer.

If Mancini decides to get rid of Robinho, he needs to wait until after the World Cup. If Robinho has a good tournament for Brazil, then his value could skyrocket and while they may not recoup all of the £32.5 million they paid for him, City could get most of their money back. Barcelona are a team that have been linked with Robinho previously, as they need someone to fill that attacking left position that Thierry Henry has failed to deliver in for Barca this season.

What do you think – would you like to see Robinho stay at City or sell him to the highest bidder?

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