Just like last week, I guess I’ve given the game away in the title. If you are reading this in the hope of learning what some of the finest transfers in footballing history have been, you are very much in the wrong place. In true Tales style, we are spending the summer looking back over some of the “greatest” transfers of the season, and we thoroughly coated the word “greatest” in sarcasm. Last week we pointed out that £30m could have been better invested than throwing it at Moussa Sissoko and today we want to have a little chat about Claudio.
Ah yes, Claudio. One of the best goalkeepers in the world if you believe everything Pep tells you. He might well be one of the finest goalkeepers in the world if we completely redo the analysis form marked “what makes a good goalkeeper”, scribbling out the lines “ability to catch” and “ability to save shots” and replace them with “being alright at chipping the ball ten yards to Gael Clichy” and “watched a few clips of Rene Higuita on YouTube”.
Claudio arrived at Manchester City at the start of the season after Pep had given Joe Hart’s performances in Euro 2016 a watch and decided there must be better options out there. There were indeed, the only problem was that Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen wasn’t for sale so Pep ended up shelling out £13.75m for Claudio Bravo. OK, it’s not a crazy amount of money to pay but Pep must have realised that playing behind a defence that included Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba was slightly different to be the last line of defence when Vincent Kompany was laying injured on the floor again, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy were loitering around a little bit lost in defensive midfield, Aleksandar Kolarov was trying to explain he’ll never a centre back in a million years and John Stones was being John Stones.
Yes, if Pep had looked at this properly he might have realised that having the ability to save shots would be useful as with that mob in front of him, especially with big Vinny on the treatment table once more, shots were going to come his way every so often. Come January, Bravo would go a whole month without saving a single shot, in and around a run that included conceding 14 goals from the 22 shots fired at him. At one point in the season, opposition managers were working out how many they felt City might score, knowing that they’d only need to get one more shot on goal than that number to win the game.
Now, the City fans are not fools. They’ve seen many an up and down over the years following their beloved. They also specialise in gallows humour. So when they took to ironically cheering anything Bravo did right against Huddersfield in the FA Cup, the game was truly up for the Chile international.
The only single saving grace for CB was that Joe Hart was potentially even more pathetic at Torino and, let’s be honest, some of us might think Bravo could have got at least a hand to one of those two free kicks against Scotland.
Claudio Bravo isn’t just a risk taker on the pitch, oh no. Credit to him, he is a proud father but uploading a video of your 5-year-old making a wonder-save in the back garden was not a very wise move when it was approximately one more save than you made yourself that week. Social media showed Bravo no mercy at any point, suggesting that Wayne Shaw eating an actual pie/pasty (still not sure Jim) had a better chance of keeping a clean sheet. It was also suggested that Claudio Bravo was moonlighting as the Chilean Dodgeball Champion and if Alexis Sanchez really wanted to play in the next World Cup then his national manager might be better off picking one of his two dogs to play in nets.
So here is to Claudio Bravo. One minute he is being called the best goalkeeper in the world, the next he is being linked to a cut-price move to Ligue 1. Mind you, if you ask Mario Ballotelli, Joe Cole and Joey Barton that’s where all the best players go.