With all of the attention focused on Manchester City’s latest acquisition, defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong — signed from Hamburger SV for a fee believed to be around £18 million — spare a thought for the latest forgotten man at Eastlands, Dietmar Hamann.
Just as left back Wayne Bridge pushed Javier Garrido and Michael Ball to the bench, while the arrival of Craig Bellamy means that forwards Daniel Sturridge and Felipe Caicedo will get very little playing time, the signing of Dutch international de Jong is bad news for Hamann. Sure, Hamann is injured and is likely to be out for three months. But even if he was fit, it’s doubtful the German midfielder would play much of a part in the second half of the 2008/2009 season.
At 35, it’s probable that this season will Hamann’s last in England and top flight football. His contract is due to expire at the end of this season.
Hamann’s career in England began in 1998 when Newcastle manager Kenny Dalglish signed the German international from Bayern Munich for £5.5 million. At Newcastle, Hamann made 23 appearances before signing for Liverpool in 1999 for a transfer fee of £8 million.
It was at Liverpool where Hamann came to prominence playing 191 times for the Merseyside club over a seven year period. While at Liverpool, Hamann scored the last goal at the old Wembley Stadium when Germany beat England 1-0 on October 7, 2000. And he played a key role in one of the greatest football matches ever — Liverpool’s historic Champions League victory against AC Milan in 2005.
In 2006, Hamann joined Manchester City where he has made 54 appearances for the club.
Unfortunately, Hamann has failed to make much of an impression lately under the management of Mark Hughes. In November, Hamann was one of two players who refused to warm up in the 2-2 draw against Hull City. After ignoring to come on as a substitute, Hamann was demoted to play in a reserves match a few days later.
In the 2008/2009 season, Hamann has only had five league appearances for City. In his last game for the Citizens, Hamann came on as a substitute in the January 3rd loss against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup. Hamann’s last contribution was a poor one when his throw-in went straight into the City defence and to the feet of Forest player Joe Garner who scored past Joe Hart to make the final result 3-0 to Forest.
De Jong will bring a much needed boost to Manchester City’s defensive frailities. In Euro 2008, de Jong partnered with Dutch midfielder Orlando Engelaar. The duo were particularly effective during Holland’s shock 3-0 win against Italy.
The Forgotten Men is a new series from EPL Talk which shines a light on the players who are often overlooked and forgotten about when so much of the media focus is on a club’s big new signing. Follow ‘The Forgotten Men‘ series today.