The City Summary (December 12, 2013)

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City have sealed their first signing of the summer and it’s only December!

We posted about it several days ago but now there is confirmation from Gianluca Di Marzio at Sky Italy that City have closed a deal to sign young Argentine midfielder Bruno Zuculini from Racing Club de Avellaneda.

20-year-old Zuculini will join the Blues on a 5-year contract next June for a fee of around £2m. This is an extraordinarily low fee for one of Argentina’s top midfield prospects, but City could have taken him for nothing with his contract almost up.

Director of football Txiki Begiristain has offered the small fee to Racing Club to ensure relations between the clubs stay strong, something City have done before when signing youth players from foreign academies.

Zuculini will stay in Argentina until June to boost his chances of making Argentina’s World Cup squad, with the tenacious midfielder thought to have an outside chance of making the flight to Brazil.

It’s not clear yet whether he’ll go straight into first team reckoning upon his arrival in Manchester, or whether City will loan him somewhere for some experience outside of his homeland.

If City do have immediate plans for Zuculini in the first team squad, it would raise questions about Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell, with one of them possibly having to make way for the Argentine.

The capture of Zuculini is a sign of City’s expanding scouting network across the globe, with South America identified as an area where City needed to be more active. Txiki Begiristain has begun a serious recruitment push there, so Zuculini may not be the last to arrive.


Real Betis hope to sign John Guidetti on loan from City in January according to ElDesmarque, with both the player and club positive to the idea.

Betis sit bottom of La Liga with the second fewest amount of goals scored, something Guidetti would be tasked to change.

Guidetti is Betis’ preferred option ahead of ex-City striker Felipe Caicedo and Liverpool flop Iago Aspas as they desperately search for a quality striker on loan, their precarious financial state making it hard for them to buy one.

As revealed this morning here on the blog, should this deal go through it could lead to Betis becoming a “feeder club” for City.

This would also ease any remaining tension between City and Betis after City tried to snatch 15-year-old Toni Robaina from Betis’ academy this summer – a move that could be revived if Guidetti is sent to Betis.

Up to 20 clubs are now thought to have made approaches for the Swedish striker, so his move to Betis isn’t a certainty yet.


Micah Richards hobbled off against Bayern Munich with what looked to be another muscle injury, meaning he’ll surely miss the Arsenal game this Saturday.

Micah’s career has been blighted by such injuries and before this season he was averaging just 20 games (out of 38) league games per season in his City career.

He has been stalling on signing a new City contract because he wants to play more often – the problem being when he does play, he seems to have an injury recurrence.

Micah was clearly gutted after getting injured against Bayern and looked distraught on the bench. But in appreciation for the support he received, he has decided to donate money to various charities.

Footballers make loads of money, we know, but they are under no obligation to give any of it away, so this is a really classy move by Micah.


City are locked in a battle with Chelsea and Monaco to sign St. Etienne defender Kurt Zouma according to Le Progres in France.

City have already made an offer for 19-year-old Zouma, considered one of European football’s most promising defenders, and St. Etienne coach Christophe Galtier has admitted they will struggle to keep him beyond January.

But Chelsea are also very keen to sign him and could up the bidding to £13m, while Monaco are looking for defensive reinforcements (and have been also linked with a £17m move for Kompany – is that for his left or right leg?).

City have been intensifying their search for a defender and a scout was present at Benfica vs. PSG on Wednesday night to watch Benfica centre-back Ezequiel Garay, so Zouma isn’t the only option.


Another youngster on the City radar according to Sky Italy is Lazio’s 18-year-old attacking prodigy Keita Balde Diao.

Keita, who has also been watched by Liverpool, is a former member of Barcelona’s prestigious La Masia academy and has been making a huge impression at Lazio where he is already getting first team games.

A left-sided winger/forward, Keita has been watched repeatedly by City scouts recently and the reports have been very positive, but Lazio are determined to hold on to him for now.


City have been given the Darwen End of Ewood Park for the FA Cup game against Blackburn on January 4. This means our fans will have around 7,000 tickets and make no mistake, they will sell out.

Blackburn are closing the upper tier of the Blackburn End for home fans, so should demand exceed supply there may be a chance that City could get an increased allocation.

Tickets will be priced at £20 for adults, £12 for seniors and £5 for juniors.

Blackburn has been a popular away day for Blues for many years because of the big allocations and it being a short trip north.

Last time City were there, our fans made a enormous racket!


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City’s MLS franchise, New York City FC, has been making waves again even though the team won’t kick a ball in the MLS until 2015.

Earlier this week, they announced that Jason Kreis will be the first head coach of the team. Kreis, who has just stepped down as Real Salt Lake, is rated as one of the USA’s best young coaches and a good choice for NYCFC.

A couple of days later, the New York Post reported that a deal is close that will see NYCFC build a 28,000-seat stadium just south of Yankee Stadium. If everything is approved, it will be constructed on an empty lot between the Major Deegan and East 153rd Street.


Ohhhh, Pablo Zabaleta…

City to sign the “best defensive midfielder in Argentina” Bruno Zuculini

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City are set to sign highly rated young midfielder Bruno Zuculini from Racing Club de Avellaneda, according to reports from Argentina in recent days.

This isn’t a new link, with reports in the winter transfer window claiming that City had signed the 20-year-old, only for the window to shut without the former Argentina U20 international joining the Blues.

Now, several media sources in Argentina, including Olé, are claiming this is a done deal and that the player will join City next June after another season at the club he has spent his entire career at so far.

Racing Club president Víctor Blanco is also quoted as having said “He has been sold and will leave in June”. Blanco did not name his destination, but Olé and others claim to have investigated and discovered it will be City.

If the reported fee is correct, a mere £1.5m, that would seem a coup for one of the best young prospects out of Argentina. I wonder what sort of 20-year-old talent £1.5m could get you in England?

Judging by the comments from Racing fans on several articles in Argentina, they are perplexed and angry that such a prospect could be sold for so little.

Zuculini is a tenacious holding midfielder, much like his older brother Franco Zuculini, who had similar hype at a young age but didn’t make a big impression during spells at Hoffenheim, Genoa and Real Zaragoza in Europe.

Bruno Zuculini is said to be an even better prospect than his brother was. After some struggles during his development as a player, Zuculini is now considered by many to be the best defensive midfielder in Argentina’s Primera División.

A pacy and tenacious midfielder, the youngster is a good tackler with strong leadership skills and great stamina, but is also known for his ability to get forward and chip in with vital goals.

At the age of 20, he is considered to have an outside chance of making Alejandro Sabella’s squad for the 2014 World Cup. Sabella was spotted watching he and Racing team-mate Sebastián Saja earlier this year.

But with more experienced and high profile midfielders such as Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Éver Banega (Valencia) and Lucas Biglia (Lazio) already fighting for a spot in Argentina’s midfield, the World Cup may come too soon.

Zuculini’s transfer to City is not confirmed yet, but the reports seem credible enough to suggest there is something in it. The common issue of getting him a work permit should also be avoided, with Zuculini eligible for an Italian passport.