Manchester United attack equally as strong as City's despite Carlos Tevez transfer
14 July 2009 01:04
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But if the Argentine believes that his move across town to Manchester City will guarantee the regular football he craved, but failed to get, at United, then Mark Hughes's move for Emmanuel Adebayor might just have Tevez thinking again.
Tevez, Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz could be some strike-force at Eastlands, but then Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen, plus the coltish talents of Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck, ensure that Sir Alex Ferguson will not be short of firepower at Old Trafford either.
Tevez's decision to cross the divide in Manchester has undoubtedly left a dent in United's attacking options and bolstered City's.
But do not fall into trap of believing that Hughes is now assembling a frontline that will be the envy of the Premier League and the rest of Europe.
If he lands Adebayor from Arsenal, then Hughes will possess fearsome attacking options, especially when you consider that Craig Bellamy and Robinho will also play up-front this season.
City are clearly closing the gap on their rivals in terms of strikers, but ask a Premier League defender who he would rather face and it is unlikely that he would plump for Rooney, Berbatov and Owen ahead of City's forwards.
The same goes for the Steven Gerrard-Fernando Torres double act at Anfield or a Chelsea forward line of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka at the top of their game.
All of the above have proven their goalscoring credentials at the top level, in the Champions League and on the international stage, both as individuals and as partners.
Hughes has still to throw Tevez and Santa Cruz together on a training pitch, never mind in a competitive fixture. If Adebayor arrives, he will just become another powerful ingredient in the City cocktail.
As a world-renowned striker during his playing days, few people understand what it takes to score goals and succeed as a forward better than Hughes and he will have a plan for his new strikers.
Santa Cruz, the £17m buy from Blackburn, was identified by Hughes as his target man of choice as long ago as last summer, but it has taken a year to recruit the Paraguayan.
Samuel Eto'o and Tevez were lined up to play just off Santa Cruz, but the withdrawal from the race to sign Eto'o has shifted the focus to Adebayor, whose game barely compares to that of the pacy Eto'o.
Adebayor is more of a front-man in the mould of Santa Cruz, but his ability on the ground, with his quick feet and eye for the spectacular at least offers variation from the more powerful Paraguay forward.
Hughes will have problems fitting his players in. If he opts for Santa Cruz, with Adebayor and Tevez just behind, then where does that leave Bellamy? The Welshman will also be frozen out if Santa Cruz and Adebayor are deployed as a twin strike-force with Tevez in the hole.
In midfield, Hughes must somehow find a way to field Gareth Barry, Stephen Ireland, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Nigel de Jong and Robinho. Five into three clearly doesn't go.
Over at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson has juggled his squad for years and his players are now accustomed to the rotation system at United. At City, without Europe draining the resources, Hughes might not need to rotate at all.
But in terms of the battle of the forward lines, City are emerging from United's shadow.
Which frontline will score the most this season? Despite all the glamour of City's summer signings, the smart money will still be on United's strikers outscoring their rivals in blue.
Carlos Tevez - The superstar signing craved by the Abu Dhabi owners, Tevez can expect to start virtually every game after rejecting Manchester United for City.
Roque Santa Cruz - Not the box office name in comparison to Tevez, but Santa Cruz starred for Blackburn under Mark Hughes and he will have a major role as the target man.
Emmanuel Adebayor - City are still waiting for the green light to lure the Togo forward from Arsenal, but he would give Hughes Champions League experience and guaranteed goals.
Craig Bellamy - Injury problems have marred his recent career, but when fit and on form, the Welshman's record compares with the very best. Might not start many games, though.
Robinho - The Brazilian will either thrive amongst fellow stars or become unsettled due to a waning influence. His future may not be secure if he starts the season slowly.
Felipe Caicedo - Sporting Lisbon are waiting to sign the Ecuador forward. Hughes will probably let him go, but he proved his worth in the second half of last season.
Benjani - Do not expect the Zimbabwean to start the season at Eastlands. The fierce competition will drive him to another club in the coming weeks.
Ched Evans - Hughes rates the young Welshman, but a loan move to either Sheffield United or Stoke looks to be on the cards. Otherwise, he will be restricted to Carling Cup football at City.
Valeri Bojinov - The Bulgarian has endured two seasons hampered by injury since being signed by Sven-Goran Eriksson and is attracting interest from Wolfsburg.
Wayne Rooney - Big season for the England forward. If he is handed the central role he prefers at Old Trafford, then he can score the goals that Cristiano Ronaldo delivered for United.
Dimitar Berbatov - Still to justify his £30.75m price tag, but the Bulgarian is a proven Premier League goalscorer and the departures of Ronaldo and Tevez could see him flourish.
Michael Owen - At 29 and with a World Cup on the horizon, Owen has the perfect motivation to score the goals that will make his free transfer signing one of the bargains of the decade.
Danny Welbeck - Sir Alex Ferguson claims the 18-year-old can gatecrash England's World Cup squad. Tall, powerful and with an eye for goal, this could be Welbeck's year.
Federico Macheda - The Italian teenager burst onto the scene with two goals in two games last season. Still raw and unproven, but he has proven his credentials as an impact substitute.