City will hope both are back in time for this Sunday’s game against Sunderland, the final fixture before a lengthy international break. City won’t be able to complain about fatigue after Sunderland fielded a near full strength side in their 2-1 Capital One Cup win over Southampton tonight.
Remember the Isco saga this summer? City seemed nailed on to sign the prodigious Spanish playmaker for a while before Real Madrid swooped in and snatched him, much to the dismay of his teacher Manuel Pellegrini.
Reports circulated shortly after he joined Real Madrid that the key to that deal had been a huge fee paid to his father, an amount that City refused to cough up. While that may have been true, the main reason seems to have been City’s unwillingness to meet his release clause and that was confirmed today.
Málaga general manager Vicente Casado revealed earlier that City had offered a significant amount less than Real Madrid, City chiefs feeling they could grab the 21-year-old on the cheap. That backfired and one of Europe’s most promising stars was lost.
While it would have been great to see Isco at City, the rejuvenation of both Silva and Nasri has helped make the Isco saga a distant memory already.
The Curious Case of Abdisalam Ibrahim continues with another story linking him away from City today. Every few weeks the 22-year-old Norwegian midfielder is linked with reputable clubs and the persistence of these stories (not to mention the comparisons to Vieira and Yaya) make one wonder if his representatives are drumming up interest.
There were reports some months back that City had released him, which proved untrue. Now there are reports that City could let him go for free in January with half a year left on his deal, which would seem illogical if he’s good enough to command any sort of transfer fee.
Many top flight clubs including Newcastle, Everton, Hull, Stuttgart, Fiorentina, and Lazio have been linked with him lately. Ibrahim was loaned to Dutch Eredivisie minnows NEC last year, but struggled for first team opportunities and was sent back to City, who then dispatched him back to Norway with partner club Strømsgodset.
After a good loan spell in the Norwegian league, he appears to be on the radar of many clubs. Yet despite these stories coming from somewhere, Ibrahim has contradicted them on his Twitter account and posted this just yesterday.
It’s hard to know whether Ibrahim has stepped up his game in the past year without watching the obscure Norwegian league, but he may have chance to impress Pellegrini in training when he returns to Manchester shortly.
One of City’s most impressive players at EDS/U21 level this season has been Jason Denayer. The former Anderlecht youth was snapped up from the Académie Jean-Marc Guillou after a successful trial and has been quite a revelation in the youth team.
Comparisons to his countryman Kompany are quite valid with the 19-year-old a powerful presence in defence but also classy on the ball and showing good technical ability.
Denayer also seems to be a very ambitious player and spoke of those ambitions to Bediables in Belgium (translated by Sky Sports):
“I have already trained a few times with the first team. It was a huge experience for me.
“Aguero, Nasri and David Silva are impressive players, but I learn the most from Vincent Kompany.
“He gives me good advice. This year I want to train more with the big boys, develop my skills and I also dream of some playing time, maybe in the cup or so.
“Next year I want to be a part of the first squad.”
City have stepped up their interest in 21-year-old Argentine goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli, according to Punto Pelota in Spain. City have previously been linked with the 6′ 2½” Estudiantes keeper, but are said to have intensified their pursuit of him in recent weeks.
Rulli, who it is thought would cost in the region of £5million, is very highly rated by scouts and is also attracting interest from Barcelona and Atlético Madrid.
Another emerging young talent linked with City tonight is FC Groningen forward Richairo Živković. According to the Daily Mirror, City are considering a move for the 17-year-old who has been compared to former Groningen star Arjen Robben.
The Dutch-Serbian teen has also been heavily linked to Liverpool recently and is one of several great young talents in Holland’s Eredivisie, another of whom, PSV’s Zakaria Bakkali, City have been monitoring closely.