Scott Sinclair was once an exciting, young winger with the best years of his career ahead of him, but then Manchester City tempted him away with a failed transfer from Swansea and wasted his potential.
Scoring a hat-trick in a play-off final or making 35 appearances to earn 11th spot in your club’s first Premer League season is a far cry from sitting on the bench, and sometimes even the stands. But that was how the young Englishman’s career nosedived during his time at City.
Every players’ dream is to play for the best team possible, so nobody can blame Sinclair for wanting to challenge himself at the home of the league champions, but it was a risk, and the risk failed miserably. Roberto Mancini was a prickly character, and if he didn’t think you were good enough, you wouldn’t even get the opportunity to prove him wrong. Mancini certainly did not think he was good enough.
A four-year contract would have been something he celebrated at the time, but that eventually turned into the chains that held him at a club he wasn’t going to have a future with. A combination of his big money wages, the money required to buy him out of the contract and his lack of game time put off any potential suitors quickly.
Luckily a loan move to West Brom materialised in time for the 2013/14 season, but Sinclair struggled to make it into the team and often played reserve matches. Aston Villa then called and the ex-Swansea man was desperate to answer. Nine appearances and one goal later, Villa released Sinclair from his City’s contract and paid the Blues £2.5m.
It goes without saying that 27 appearances and two goals during the 2015/16 campaign was his best since leaving Swansea, but his poor goalscoring form meant he was sold to Celtic for £3m. Since then, he’s relished the Scottish league as any forward playing for the Hoops would.
He was voted Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year last season as Celtic won their sixth consecutive Premier League title and has scored 31 goals in 71 appearances.
If Sinclair didn’t leave Swansea for City, he would most likely have been a Premier League regular now. But, he took the risk to play for one the best teams in the country and it backfired, costing him his most prolific years of his career.