7. Scott Sinclair
Having impressed for Swansea City, Scott Sinclair joined Man City in 2012. He never seemed to be good enough for the Skyblues and was sent on loan just after one season. He made just two starts in a three-year stay with the club. Sinclair was later sold to Aston Villa in 2015. He suggested that manager Roberto Mancini had not given him a fair chance.
6. Roque Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz was signed by Mark Hughes for £17.5 million on a four-year deal, with the manager having previously managed him at Blackburn. Paying out a big fee for a player who had only scored 4 goals in 20 games last season, seemed like a big gamble, especially given his injury troubles.
Unfortunately for City, this gamble never paid off. Mark Hughes was fired in December 2009 and his successor, Roberto Mancini gave limited opportunities to Santa Cruz due to a succession of injuries coupled with a lack of form. He was loaned out thrice and was long forgotten at the club before being eventually released in 2013.
5. Wilfried Bony
Having scored 35 goals in 70 games for Swansea, Bony was on the radar of many Premier League clubs. A proven Premier League goalscorer for a fee of £25 million, Bony’s deal looked good on the books. But that didn’t translate to his performances on the pitch.
The Ivorian struggled to step up into an elite team and scored just twice in his first six months at the club. He struggled for game time following the arrival of Pep Guardiola and was loaned out to Stoke City, before being sold to Swansea in 2017. He only scored 10 goals for Man City in 46 games over two seasons, which is not good enough for a team pushing for the title.
4. Lee Bradbury
Manchester City had to fight off several suitors to sign Bradbury for a club record fee of £3m in July 1997. However, Bradbury failed to make any impact at the club and Manchester City were relegated at the end of the season. He did manage to score 10 goals in 36 games in all competitions but his time at the club was nothing less than a disaster. City fans widely regard him as one of the worst Manchester City signings ever.
3. Matias Vuoso
It’s hard not to be on a list of worst signings by a club when you never turned out for them. Manchester City signed Matías Vuoso from Independiente for £3.5m in the summer of 2002. Unfortunately, he never played a minute for the club and was ultimately shipped to Santos Laguna in Mexico the following summer.
Manchester City signed Jo for a club record fee of £19m in July 2008, with the player having scored 44 times in 77 matches for Russian giants CSKA Mosco. Naturally, a lot was expected of his move but in vain. He struggled to score goals and was loaned out to Everton and Galatasaray.
He made 41 appearances for City with an awful return of just six goals, only one of which were in the Premier League, before being sold to Internacional in 2011.
1. Eliaquim Mangala
Manchester City signed Mangala in 2014 with a view to providing a long-term and solid partner to Vincent Kompany. City had high hopes for the ex-Porto player after paying a hefty transfer fee of £42m for the Frenchman. Unfortunately, he was nowhere the standard required at the Etihad Stadium and was loaned out twice, to Valencia and Everton, before being sold to Valencia in 2019 on a free transfer.
Mangala’s signing is one of the worst financial mistakes made by Manchester City. There have been worse players playing for City, but when you also consider the transfer fee and wages, he has to top the list.