Man City miss out on Mido at 11th hour
Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce has revealed a deal to sign Mido from Tottenham collapsed 30 minutes before the transfer window shut last night.
Blues fans awoke this morning to the news that, despite high expectations of at least two new faces arriving at Eastlands, only a loan deal to bring former Everton star Michael Ball to the club had actually been completed.
Pearce put all talk of his England Under-21s coaching role to one side over the last three days to concentrate his efforts on bringing in reinforcements.
Yet fevered speculation, surrounding the likes of Collins John and Paul Konchesky in particular - plus a loan move for Andy O'Brien - proved unfounded as City ended the month with almost exactly the same squad as they started it.
Although it meant Pearce kept hold of his prize assets Micah Richards, Joey Barton and Sylvain Distin, the failure to attract any striking reinforcements was a huge blow.
With his four current front men contributing just eight goals between them to the Blues' Premiership cause so far, Pearce knew he needed to bolster his attacking ranks.
Yet even though he believed a deal with Mido was done, and despite the fact his club dispatched their official doctor to the Emirates Stadium last night to conclude a medical after the Egyptian's goalscoring appearance in Tottenham's Carling Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal, Pearce picked up the phone in his Eastlands office at 11.30pm last night to be told the £4million transfer was off.
'There was a bit of toing and froing between 5pm and 11pm, but we were led to believe the deal was virtually agreed,' he said.
'The work permits had all been sorted out, and the doctor was down there waiting to do a medical - which tells you how advanced we thought it all was.
'Then we get a call at 11.30 to say Tottenham were pulling out. It was a bit of a bolt from the blue, that's for sure.
'We were told it was Martin Jol's decision. But he is the manager of the club - that is what he is paid to do.'
Pearce does not believe City were the only club to miss out on a confirmed target so close to the deadline, although that has done nothing to ease his disappointment.
Many Blues fans are annoyed that their club were unable to buy anyone, even though chairman John Wardle opened up his own wallet in the final few days of the window in an attempt to bring in more players.
'I am sure the fans will be disappointed; I know I am,' said Pearce.
'We sat in the secretary's office at 1am, by which time we had hoped to have at least one or two more players through the door.
'We looked at a lot of things, and everything crossed our minds. But in the end it is very difficult to persuade clubs to sell their best players - and events conspired against us.'
Pearce did confirm Ball has made an instant impact in his week-long training stint with City and could come into contention for Saturday's home Premiership encounter with Reading.
One man who will definitely miss out, though, is Nedum Onuoha - who is visiting a specialist for a precise verdict on a knee injury which could keep him out for up to six weeks.
'We are hoping it is not a season-long problem,' said Pearce.
'He has nicked his cartilage slightly, and a muscle in his knee - so we are hoping for between four and six weeks.'