Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Distin departs for fresh challenge

With the recent takeover news and dismissal of Stuart Pearce, the issue of Sylvain Distin has fallen somewhat on the City radar of late but was thrust back in the spotlight today as an announcement (without any real rumour or leaked speculation beforehand) this morning confirmed his departure from the club after five seasons.

Distin himself confirmed:

"It has been an incredibly tough decision but in the
end, I just feel I want a fresh challenge.
"I have had five very enjoyable
years at City and I wish the club all the best for the future but I want to play
somewhere different.
"It is time for a change and it is time for me to move

The club defended itself and its negotiations however, saying:
“We left no stone unturned to try and persuade him that
his future lay with us. We recently explored a new option that would have
allowed Sylvain to leave in this transfer window or the next one on a free
transfer if he was not happy with the on-field progress we were making.
“This offer would have given Sylvain the maximum flexibility to consider his
future over the next few months.
“However Sylvain made it clear that he felt
his ambitions could be better delivered elsewhere.
“He was a fantastic player
for this football club and I am sure that all supporters would join me in
thanking him for his efforts over the last five years.”

It was an interesting point that the club would have allowed him a free transfer in January if he signed a new deal, and was subsequently not happy at the club - something I'm not aware of a club offering previously.

This is something I thought he may have taken, given the recent changes in manager and likely takeover resulting in potentially significant investment in the side - which could have matched Distin's own ambitions.

Did the club do everything possible to convince him to stay? On a financial scale I would say yes, and the add-in of an 'escape clause' probably backs that up also but it is the way the club has gone and been run over the past two seasons in particular that I think have led to Distin's departure as I think it probably was a case of now or never for Distin who, at aged 29, is potentially entering his last chance of success at club and international level.

Time and again he must have sratched his head as he was continually overlooked for France by the likes of Silvestre and Boumsong. Perhaps a different club or European football may have resulted in a different outcome.

I don't think there will be any bad will towards Distin from the fans as at no time has he conspired to mislead anyone with his negotiations, always being honest and seemingly not concerned with the biggest monetary offer out there (hence him turning down Middlesbrough last summer). He is believed to have turned down a record contract offer from the club to test the market.

Rumours of potential destinations seem to point towards Portsmouth - something that I would be disappointed at as I believe he could aim for far higher than that, both in this country or abroad and deserves to be playing on a bigger stage.

As for ourselves, it is obviously a blow, both in terms of having to replace him but also the potential impact it may have on any signings that are lined up. For me, Distin has been up there with Dunne as the most consistent (and best) player each season and their partnership has flourished into one of the leagues best. The skills that he brought to the position were probably unparallelled with anyone since the days of Keith Curle.

We do however have two excellent players in Onouha and Richards who may just be ready to step up to a bigger challenge, and the central position will suit Onouha better than full-back. What we will need is some experienced cover to challenge for the position and also replace Distin's knowledge at the position - I see Sami Hypiia has been linked with us the past couple of days.

Above all though, it will mean that before strengthening the squad from last season (something desperately needed) we will need to replace Distin (not to mention Barton) just to get to the stage where we finished up

vote it up!


Anonymous said...

Didn't think he would do that...

So what have we got left? So far Micah has still not been sold to the higest bidder, neither has Nedum. Richard is sound (God I hope so). Michael Ball is a relative newcomer, but he showed exactly the right attitude against the scum. So we have a back four to build on.

Midfield? We have Sun. One of my favourite players - for the effort he puts in. Joey Barton?? God knows. Are they going to be stupid enough to sell him to keep D'Abo now Distin has gone? Wouldn't put it past them. Stevie Ireland. Put more weight on lad - you may become the new Colin Bell.

Then we get to the forwards. Mr Sturridge. Our only hope. Notice they didn't 'release' any of the others. Sam Arris will get there eventually, but he needs a long rest.

Half a team. No manager. No staff. No news. Why the hell did I renew my season ticket?

'Cause I'm a blue - but its wearing pretty thin now.

Anonymous said...

Im pretty devastated. Silvain has been my favourite player for years. Just an all round cool cat.

Our squad is looking worryingly thin right now. The new manager needs to be in place as soon as possible.

Citehboy said...

A cutting blow. Having just watched an interview with Distin on Skysports, he cited City's lack of ambition and the sale of SWP and Anelka as key factors in his decision to leave. It would be kind of good if our Chairman crawled from under his stone and made a staement about the mess he and his board have created.

Danny Pugsley said...

Portsmouth though?

Can they seriously match the ambitions he has - namely European football and international honours?

Granted they look in a better position than us at present but are Portsmouth a team on the rise, or merely an average mid-table Premiership side with a ramshackle ground?

That for me is the most frustrating element of this, in that in my view he has sold himself and his talent short by not moving to one of the top clubs.

Anonymous said...


To Distin, who's been with us for five years, Portsmouth probably do look a club with ambition. I'm sorry but - we don't. If nothing happens soon I may be looking for a refund on my season ticket fee - not as per description of the goods sold.

Anonymous said...

What goes Beep - Beep - Beep - Beep - Beep?

The Liverpool open - topped bus backing into the garage.

Cheer up boys - we're City - we can take all this shit!!