The City Summary (November 29, 2013)

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Vincent Kompany is finally over the thigh injury that has sidelined him for two months, but won’t quite ready to make his return on Sunday against Swansea.

Pellegrini revealed today that Kompany is almost ready to go, but Silva and Jovetic will be out a little longer, with the Bayern Munich game the likely return date for those two. This means they will miss two difficult away games against West Brom and Southampton.

Jack Rodwell is back from another injury, hopefully for good this time, and is available to play against Swansea should he be selected.

The bad news though (and you knew with four on their way back, there had to be some) is that Matija Nastasic is out for around three weeks with the calf injury he suffered recently, so the reliable Kompany and Nastasic tandem will be kept apart even longer.

Swansea have problems of their own as we posted earlier, with star strikers Michu and Wilfried Bony both set to miss the weekend game, along with right-back Angel Rangel who limped off at the end of Swansea’s Europa League clash against Valencia last night.


Joleon Lescott is fighting for his City future, with his £90,000-per-week contract due to expire at the end of the season and no new deal on the table.

Lescott spoke quite freely to the press about his current situation and future:

“I want to stay. That’s the main thing. But the club have not approached me yet, so I don’t know what the situation is with them.

“If I’m playing for my future here, then great. If I’m playing for it elsewhere, then so be it. I just know that every time I’m out there, I have to perform at a level where top clubs would be interested in signing me.

“It depends on what the club wants and what opportunities there are for me in January.

“I’m not just going to leave a club like this for the sake of it, but at the end of the season I would have to.

“It’s hard not playing. No professional enjoys it and I’m no different. It’s not great not playing in the last year of my contract.

“I just want to be treated the same as everyone else. So if I’m playing and the team is winning, then I stay in the team, the same as everyone else.

“Realistically, there is only one place up for grabs when Vinny is fit. There are three of us for fighting for that. But I’m ready for the challenge.

“I try not to doubt myself and I try to believe I can perform.”


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Sergio Ramos was recently linked with a big money move to City, and while there is no evidence yet to suggest City really want him, there are reports he could be on his way out of Real Madrid.

According to various agencies in Spain, Ramos has fallen out with both Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and coach Carlos Ancelotti, and Perez is reported to have said he’d even sell Ramos to Barcelona if they pay £55m for him.

Even though he is a fantastic player, good in the centre of defence or on the right, no one is going to pay £55m for Ramos. However, if relations between Ramos, one of the icons of Real Madrid along with Iker Casillas, and the club have really fallen apart, a good offer might tempt them into selling.

Will City go for him? That isn’t known, but City and Chelsea are both currently linked with a move for the Spain star.

I’m sure Negredo wouldn’t mind some crosses like this from his right-back!


It was never very clear exactly what Angelo Gregucci did at City in his year at the club. Originally he was said to be a defensive coach brought in to help set up Mancini’s failed 3-5-2 formation, but he seemed to be more of a scout and was photographed watching Javi Garcia play for Benfica shortly before City signed him.

One thing Gregucci was known for, in Italy at least, was his willingness to share City’s transfer plans and interests with just about anyone.

Gregucci still comments on City a lot and said on Sport Uno earlier that City had commissioned him last season to write a report on 19-year-old Italian striker Domenico Berardi, who joined Juventus from Sassuolo in the summer and is currently back on loan at Sassuolo.

Gregucci reckons that despite Juventus winning the race to sign Berardi, City director of football Txiki Begiristain is still interested in him.

Berardi has scored 7 goals in 9 games for Sassuolo so far this season, after helping them win promotion to Serie A last year.

City receive triple Swansea booster

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City have been handed a major boost ahead of Sunday’s clash with Swansea.

The Swans have been plunged into a serious striker crisis after £12m record signing Wilfried Bony pulled up with a hamstring injury against Valencia on Thursday night.

He will now be out until after Christmas and joins Michu on the sidelines.

Bony has scored ten goals since his summer move from Vitesse Arnhem and, we must admit, having those two players missing will give our defenders much cause for relief.

And our chances of another home victory can only be enhanced further after right-back Angel Rangel picked up a calf injury and is also set to miss out.

Swansea will arguably be without their three best players.

 

 

The City Summary (November 28, 2013)

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City icon Sergio Aguero makes no pretensions of being the world’s best player, but reckons he can at least be number two!

Sergio rates his close friend Lionel Messi as the world’s best player, but has nothing but love for a man he has been friends with since their teenage years.

Aguero, who also reckons Chelsea are City’s main competitors for the title this season, told BBC Match of the Day Magazine:

“Messi is a very important person to me.

“Lionel is the best footballer in the world, but to me we are friends first, always. We started playing together when we were just 17 years old.

“He was always going to be the best, always. He’s the number one and maybe I can be number two. Not yet though, I’m doing OK but I have to keep training hard and playing well.”

There has been the occasional rumour of Aguero joining Barcelona in recent months, but how about the two of them playing together for City some day? You never know…


Could Javi Garcia be on his way out of City? A couple of days ago, the reputable and reliable Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Italy reported that Garcia was one of several midfielders being considered by Serie A side Napoli.

This morning another Italian news agency Tuttosport claimed that Rafa Benitez is trying to block sporting director Riccardo Bigon’s £10m move to sign Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons, with the Napoli boss preferring his compatriot Garcia.

A third source, the TuttoNapoli site, later wrote there has been no contact, formal or informal, from Napoli for Garcia, the first reason to doubt Napoli’s alleged interest.

Garcia has struggled to adjust to the pace of English football, but could suit the slower paced and more tactical football of Serie A if there is anything to these reports.


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Another player linked with a move to Italy today is left-back Aleksandar Kolarov. Kolarov has never hit the heights in England that he did at Lazio, and Juventus were interested in him last summer.

Gazzetta dello Sport reported today that Inter, now backed by the riches of Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir, could make a move for Kolarov, who captained City for the first time in the Champions League last night.

The main obstacle for Inter, supposing City actually agreed to sell Kolarov, would be his high wages, thought to be in the region of £90,000-per-week.

Serie A is in an era of austerity and these sort of wages are difficult even for a club like Inter, so a compromise would have to be reached.

Unless a high quality replacement can be found, City may not even be interested in selling Kolarov in January, especially with Clichy’s form having dipped so much this season.

Inter are also reported to be one of the clubs interested in signing Edin Dzeko from City, with the Bosnian likely to leave before the start of next season.


21-year-old City forward Harry Bunn, who endured a difficult loan spell at League one side Sheffield United and ended up in the reserve team, has joined Championship side Huddersfield Town for a month.

Harry’s dad and former City reserve team coach Frankie Bunn is part of Huddersfield’s youth setup, as is former City youth coach Steve Eyre who worked with Harry for over a decade before leaving the Blues a couple of years ago.

This will be a sixth loan move away from City for Bunn, who is out of contract next summer.


Bunn wasn’t the only City youngster on the move today as Football League clubs raced to snap up players before the loan window shut at 5pm.

City EDS defender Ellis Plummer, a regular in Patrick Vieira’s side, has made his first loan move away from City by joining League One side Oldham on loan.

19-year-old Plummer, a former England U16 and U17 international, who can play centre-back or full-back, moves to the Latics on an initial 5-week loan.

He is the second City player to join Oldham this season following Slovakian playmaker Albert Rusnak, whose loan move was terminated after not working out.


A third young City player could be on the move in January, the prolific John Guidetti.

The young Swede is in high demand despite only recently returning from a long injury.

If you missed our exclusive on him earlier, check it out for some information on where he could end up if City decide to loan him out.


Finally, have you ever seen anything like this? This is Roberto Soldado’s heat map for Spurs against City. He spent more time in the centre circle than in City’s box!

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EXCLUSIVE – Guidetti can take his pick of NINE clubs

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Striker John Guidetti has received approaches from NINE clubs wanting to take his services in the January window.

It would appear the Swede has no shortage of takers, with City now exploring the best of those options.

Dutch side Feyenoord, where Guidetti smashed in 20 goals in 23 games during a season-long loan back in 2011-12, have even mooted a permanent transfer, in the region of £5m.

City, however, have insisted we are still of not that thinking, despite leaks out in Sweden last week that the player is now surplus to requirements.

Championship clubs Bolton and Wigan have also made enquiries, with assurances he would be an immediate starter.

There is believed to be numerous offers from Spain, Italy and Germany, and Guidetti is to hold talks with Txiki Begiristain early next week.

Guidetti was on the bench for last weekend’s trouncing of Spurs and Pellegrini wants to take a closer look, having also tried to take him on loan when in charge at Malaga.

Q&D – Manchester City 4-2 Viktoria Plzeň

Yet another goal-fest at Fortress Etihad saw a below-par City overcome Viktoria Plzeň 4-2 to register their fourth Champions League win in five games this season.

City made changes and rarely looked at their best, with the defence once more suspect under pressure and in addition to leaking two goals, allowing Plzeň several other chances they should have made more of.

City looked a threat going forward as always at the Etihad, with Nasri having another superb game and seeing his efforts rewarded with a goal. It was a classic “you score, we score” game, reminiscent of a Kevin Keegan team, but Plzeň lacked City’s firepower and our arsenal of striking talent was the difference.

Fernandinho had another impressive game, one of the few City stars tonight who seemed to play with much intensity. Joe Hart also returned to the team and played well, making some fine saves, but his distribution left something to be desired.

Dzeko had a nightmare for the most part, but as he tends to do after such a performance found the net, following several wasted chances. Negredo joined him in the attack late on and needed just a few minutes to score his sixth goal in as many games at the Etihad.

The former Sevilla pair of Negredo and Navas made a big difference after coming on, the latter notching up two more assists to make it 3 assists and 2 goals in his last two games.

Overall, far from a vintage performance but with a win came two coefficient points as City look to boost their seeding, and UEFA’s €1m bonus for a group stage win. The club treasury is certainly benefiting from our Champions League improvement this season!

City can still win the group, but it’d take a very unlikely 3-0 (or equivalent) win against Bayern Munich at the Allianz. As things stand, City will face one of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid or PSG in the next round.

Manchester City: Hart, Richards, Demichelis, Lescott, Kolarov, Milner, Garcia, Fernandinho (Toure 65), Nasri (Negredo 75), Aguero (Navas 46), Dzeko
Subs not used: Zabaleta, Pantilimon, Boyata, Huws
Goals: Aguero (penalty 33), Nasri (65), Negredo (79), Dzeko (90)

Viktoria Plzen: Kozacik, Rajotoral, Cisovsky, Prochazka, Hubnik, Horvath, Horava, Petrzela (Kovarik 73), Kolar (Bakos 86), Duris (Wagner 89), Tecl
Subs not used: Bolek, Hejda, Reznik, Pospisil
Goals: Horava (43), Tecl (69)

Attendance: 37,742

TKA Man of the Match: Samir Nasri


Stats courtesy of WhoScored:

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The City Summary (November 26, 2013)

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Manuel Pellegrini insisted at his pre-Plzeň presser today that Joe Hart will not be loaned out in January after reports last night that City could offer him to Stoke for half a season as part of a deal for Asmir Begovic.

Pellegrini, who made it known before the Spurs game that he’s had enough of questions about England’s number one, tried to put this situation to bed, saying bluntly:

“There is a lot of news about six or seven goalkeepers that we want to buy but it is not true.

“There is no chance that Joe Hart could go out of this squad in January.”

Don’t expect the rumours to go away just yet, though, especially as Pellegrini specifically said “in January”. In fact, today’s cover of AS in Spain was adamant that City want to sign Iker Casillas, just one of several keepers linked with the Blues.

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Spanish journalist Guillem Balague added fuel to the fire on Sky Sports’ Revista de la Liga tonight, saying:

“Manchester City definitely want Iker Casillas for next season and he’s known about it for a while.”


There are signs of City’s injury woes subsiding at last despite Pellegrini confirming today that Kompany, Silva, Jovetic and Rodwell will all miss tomorrow’s game through injury.

Kompany and Silva would likely not have played anyway, but it would have been a good opportunity for the injury prone pair of Jovetic and Rodwell to push for a spot in the team.

The good news is that Kompany is back in full training and could be back as early as this weekend. He hasn’t appeared since City’s 3-1 win over Everton at the start of October and setbacks have delayed his return.

Silva is also nearing his return, and along with both Jovetic and Rodwell could be back in 7-10 days.

If City can get all four of these fit and avoid any other serious injuries, it will be a great boost going into December’s fixture pile-up.


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Samir Nasri is happy and it’s showing in his fantastic performances for the Blues. The rejuvenated Nasri gave a very candid interview to the press today, revealing his state of mind after having a difficult time last season.

“It was tough for me last season, and I wasn’t feeling myself.

“There was the beef with the journalist after the European Championships, I wasn’t involved with the national team and was getting a bad press in France, and for months, I just refused to speak to anyone.

“I didn’t play well for City and lost my place, and it was obvious I needed to clear my head. I talked to my parents and my agent, people who really mattered to me, but, really, at the time, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. Sometimes, when you make a mistake, you don’t want to admit it. That was probably my biggest mistake of all.

“I realised it is never good keeping things to yourself, and I began to open up. I talked it over and just decided I should start smiling again and concentrate on doing well at what I’m best at, which is playing football.

“As a player and as a person, I think I have grown up a lot. I’m not looking for another season like the last one, that’s for sure. I know the mistakes I made, and I now know how to put them right.”


Pellegrini can come across as a slightly aloof figure on the touchline, rarely letting emotion get the better of him, but behind the scenes he is a man well liked and respected by players.

And Yaya Toure has revealed that it was the Chilean’s words which inspired City to the 6-0 victory over Spurs on Sunday.

“The manager’s speech before the game was unbelievable.

“It is always difficult when you lose a game like we did at Sunderland. It is hard for the players. Football is so strange. But we have come together as a team because we want to regain the Premier League.”


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City are in pole position to land the “pearl of Tenerife” Ayoze Pérez, according to Punto Pelota in Spain.

20-year-old forward Pérez has caught the eye of scouts playing for Tenerife in Spain’s second tier, with City, Real Madrid, Schalke 04 and Lyon all following him closely.

Pérez makes just £125-per-week (one HUNDRED and twenty-five) on his amateur Tenerife contract, which expires in 2015, and the club have received offers of £1.6m from both City and Real Madrid according to Punto Pelota.

Real Madrid would put him in their Castilla (B team), while it isn’t clear how City would use him, but he would join a growing legion of Spaniards at the Etihad that includes fellow Canary Islander, David Silva.

For now the player is concentrating on playing well every week, but City are best positioned to sign him according to the report.

So what is the fuss all about? Here’s a video that shows some of his qualities:


Manchester United City are set to sign the MVP of this year’s U17 World Cup, according to the player’s father at least. 17-year-old Kelechi Iheanacho managed 6 goals and 7 assists for Nigeria’s U17 World Cup winning side recently, alerting scouts all over Europe.

This has turned into a quite a soap opera in Nigeria, with Kelechi’s father recently saying his son had gone missing – supposedly whisked away by agents to Europe to sign for a club.

Days later, his father seemed to know what was going on, although there was one oddity in his comments to Super Sports:

“As I am talking to you, I have chosen in my mind (that) Kelechi is going to Manchester United.”

(Correcting himself) “I have told you that he is going to Manchester City.”

It doesn’t end there, though. James Iheanacho later confirmed his comments to MTNFootball.com, sharing the results of his discussion with family members and God:

“We prayed [on Monday] and, after due consultations with family members, we came up with Manchester City, believing he has a future there. That is where he will be uplifted.”

FC Porto, Arsenal and Chelsea have also been credited with an interest in the exciting young forward, but City have reportedly made the best offer and look set to snap him up.

Here is Kelechi Iheanacho in action for Nigeria:

Begovic for Hart – something in it?

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Blues will have to bear with us as we continue to try and find the happy medium between being a place for all things City, and trying to report and inform on situations which may be developing at City, using our contacts.

My Twitter colleague @City_Watch took a fair few brickbats after thatkunaguero published an article earlier this month that Joe Hart would consider his future in January if he was still out of the picture.

And today there are reports from Alan Nixon in the Daily Mirror that City will make a £15m move for Stoke’s Asmir Begovic in the upcoming window, with Stoke offered the extra carrot of taking Hart on loan at the Britannia until the end of the season.

We have made a series of enquiries this morning to a couple of people as to the validity of this story and it would seem it can’t be ruled out, much as it might smart for some of Joe’s fans.

It’s well-documented that Begovic was targeted by Roberto Mancini, and a deal was all set up for this summer, until the manager received his cards.

Begovic is certainly a top-class keeper and City have continued to scout his performances.

The question has to be would Hart even contemplate Stoke? Mark Hughes was all too quick to drop him in favour of Shay Given?

But with a World Cup around the corner and despite Pellegrini’s denial, there is a strong feeling Hart would have few options but to take a punt, and put himself in the shop window for next summer.