It has been a weekend to forget for City on the pitch after our latest “Groundhog Day” 1-0 defeat to Sunderland. Now comes the international break, two weeks for City fans to stew over yet another failure away from the comforts of Fortress Etihad.
After today’s loss a frustrated Pellegrini bemoaned City’s away form and struggled to understand how we didn’t win. Mancini often said similar things, but when is something going to be done about it?
“If you don’t win away, it’s hard to fight for the Premier League but I do not think we are playing bad so we must arrange and we must improve and I am absolutely sure that we are going to start to win.”
“The reaction is very similar to the other games we lost away in the way we lost this game.”
“Sunderland played really well defensively and I understand how they played but they had just one shot on our goal.”
“We had the possession and the chances but we didn’t score.”
Joleon Lescott’s successful stay at City is set to end soon, with his contract expiring next summer and the club unlikely to offer new terms.
According to the Mirror, Mark Hughes, who had Garry Cook shell out an eye-watering £22million to sign Lescott from Everton, is planning a January bid for the 31-year-old.
The Mirror reckons that City may consider letting the title-winning defender go for just £2million to avoid losing him for nothing next summer, but his £90,000-per-week wages could be the stumbling block with no Premier League club willing to give an aging defender this sort of financial package.
City’s defence is already struggling so selling one of its most experienced members for just £2million may not be worth it… unless, that is, City opt to splash out on a high quality centre-back in January, which is certainly a possibility.
Speaking of that possibility, the Sunday People claims that City are in the race for Benfica and Argentina defender Ezequiel Garay.
27-year-old Garay very nearly joined United in the summer, having been a major target for Alex Ferguson, but they changed their mind late in the day after Ferguson retired.
Garay is the third Portugal-based defender to be linked to City in recent weeks, along with Porto duo Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolás Otamendi.
There was more Joe Hart furor in the Sunday papers. The Sunday People, a newspaper notorious for its unreliable transfer rumours, reckons that City plan to offload England’s number one, with Barcelona’s Victor Valdes and QPR’s Julio Cesar eyed as possible replacements.
Oddly enough though, the Daily Star has a very similar story, right down to the Valdes and Cesar links. This suggests they have been briefed by the same person (which doesn’t make it true – both papers have poor records with transfer rumours)… that, or the two journalists had a pint together last week and conjured up a fictional story. Time will tell…
Another story in the Daily Star on Sunday suggested that New York City FC, the MLS franchise owned by City and due to launch in 2015, could sign United defender Rio Ferdinand.
Ferdinand will pushing 37 by the time NYCFC launches and although he’d fit the bill of a high profile marquee player, will he even be playing football by then or boring us to death as a TV pundit?
Believe it or not, there are four City players who will be happy today, though you may not have heard of the majority. Norway U21 midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim, who has 3 appearances for City’s first team to his name, and Ghanaian trio Bismark Adjei-Boateng, Enock Kwakwa and Razak Nuhu have won the league! The Norwegian league that is, the four of them on loan at Strømsgodset in the Tippeligaen.
Strømsgodset sealed their first league title in 43 years with Ibrahim in the starting 11 and left-back Nuhu on the bench. Adjei-Boateng (19), who scored 7 goals in 17 matches from midfield, and Kwakwa (19) who has appeared just once in the league this season, played no part today but will no doubt be celebrating with the others.
The three Ghanaians were signed by City from the Right to Dream academy and farmed out to Norway as others have been. The most high profile of them, Mohammed Abu, has been loaned out repeatedly and is currently on loan at Danish club Aarhus following unsuccessful loan spells at Rayo Vallecano, Eintracht Frankfurt and Lorient.
Ibrahim, now 22, is due back at City soon and a decision on his future is likely to be made with his contract up in the summer.