After the summer transfer window closed, FIFA ratified the season-long loan move of John Guidetti to Glasgow Celtic. Here’s something I want you to know about my relationship with John Guidetti: I don’t hate him. I want you to understand that. I want to go on record early on that I do not hate, or even dislike the footballer John Guidetti. I have absolutely no reason to.
In truth, as his appearances in a City shirt are as rare as a funny Lee Evans joke, I don’t know a great deal about him. Alas, to try and make a reasonable case for myself I’ve had to do one of my least favourite things as a writer and research some incredibly basic stats. So now, with my relative disinterest and my lack of knowledge, I am going to write a blog centered around the title “Why I am Glad John Guidetti Has Gone”. How does that sound?
In all honesty my problem with John Guidetti is not actually a problem with John Guidetti; I take issue with the City supporters who idolise him. How could I be mad at the player for that? It’s not like he’s done anything to earn it, so it can’t possibly be his fault.
Followers of the City EDS team (or ‘reserves’, as they were back in the Swede’s youth-team heyday) raved about Guidetti and believed he had the talent to make it as a first-team player. However, that predated the rise of The Blues as trophy winning team. Just because he might once have feasibly been able to play for a Mark Hughes side struggling to free itself from the grips of mid-table, that doesn’t mean he would make an adequate stand-in for an injured Sergio Agüero.
Now, as I alluded to earlier, this in itself doesn’t annoy me or make me dislike Guidetti. I have never and will never take a real dislike to a player for not being good enough.
The outstanding fact about the 22 year old, with the Blues since 2007, is that as a City player the Swede has made one senior appearance for the club. Now, clearly, one game is not a reasonable sample size on which to base a judgement of a footballer player’s talent. However, flip it on it’s head and look at how many games he has not played in his career and you get to a position where you can start to form a reasonable judgement.
Before I do that, I will acknowledge the obvious for the Guidetti fans amongst you annoyed at the imbalance of this piece; he had a pretty phenomenal loan spell in the Dutch league with Feyenoord. He was there for the 2011-12 season and played 23 league games, grabbing an impressive 20 goals in that time. Whilst you can’t fault that, it is surely right to point out that it has been proven many times that good form for a striker in Holland doesn’t automatically translate to English Premier League success.
Since then, Guidetti has played precisely zero minutes for City. Not a single kick of the ball. At one point he was ruled out for a lengthy spell with a ‘mystery illness’ that nobody ever seems to have worked out.
In January 2013, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes took Guidetti to The Brittania Stadium for a loan spell in which he made six substitute appearances, all from the bench, and failed to find the back of the net. As a supporter, it’s hard to judge him because we haven’t seen a lot of him. Therefore, we must rely on the inference of the managers who have judged him that he isn’t of a high enough quality to play in the Premier League.
This is, to me at least, enough evidence to suggest that Guidetti is not the player many hoped he could be. The one bright spell in his professional career should not be dismissed, but taken in context it must surely be seen as an anomaly at this stage.
Three managers at Manchester City have overlooked him, whether that be by refusing to blood him in early-round cup games or shirking the chance to throw him in at the deep end in an injury crisis (lord knows there’s been enough of those). Two of those managers are Premier League winners so I’d say it is reasonable to trust their judgement. He wasn’t even used by a manager who specifically sought him out for another club.
This makes it unusual to me that he acquired a significant cult status amongst the Etihad faithful. There is a fairly regular groundswell of support for him to be given a shot at first team football based on almost no evidence or sound reasoning. City fans found time to get angry on Twitter last season every time Stoke failed to use him. They never seemed to stop and think there might be reason for it.
In one interview last year, Guidetti spoke of his anger at not playing for the Potters in a cup game shortly after his move there, then warned Stoke that they would “have a problem” if they failed to use him for the next game. It may be suggested on this evidence that even his attitude and mentality is questionable.
So, there you go. On the basis of the lack of Premier League ability we must assume Guidetti possesses I am glad he is not at the club. However, it is primarily because I do not have to bang my head hard against the computer every time I read a fellow Blue type, “I just don’t understand why we’re not giving him a chance, he did well at Feyenoord” that I celebrate his temporary departure.
Of course, after he averages a hat trick a game for Celtic I’m going to have to deal with it again next season, but I am grateful for the respite.
written by Richard Burns