The City Weekend Summary (November 16 & 17, 2013)

Could Lionel Messi join City after the World Cup? That has been a big talking point of the weekend, even though the idea sounds pretty far-fetched on paper.

It all started with Rob Shepherd’s “Football Grapevine” in the Daily Mail where he reckons that such a transfer may not be as unfeasible as it sounds.

The line to pique one’s interest is this: “And I understand several super agents and brokers are actively looking at piecing together a deal.”

It’s all very vague and lacking details, but it’s hard not to get excited at the very thought of it. Messi to City would be one of… no, probably THE biggest transfer in football history as the world transfer record would have to be broken.

Not one to get your hopes up about yet, but there are certain Spaniards in power at City who have dealt with Messi and his camp before and if Messi does opt for a new challenge, City will be right at the top of the list of suitors.

The Sunday People’s top City story this weekend was news of a possible swoop for Real Madrid and Spain star Sergio Ramos.

27-year-old Ramos is locked in a contract dispute with his club, and apparently wants wages more in line with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale (good luck with that…).

The People reports that PSG could rival City for him, but that City will make an “opening offer” of £32.5million for the versatile defender.

This all sounds a little suspect (“player wants more money” = “link him with City” has been done a thousand times), and that is no surprise coming from the Sunday People which rivals the Daily Star for seemingly random transfer rumours.

The Sunday People also ran another City transfer story, but so did the Sunday Telegraph and in a little more detail. Jason Burt of the Telegraph claims that City are planning a January move for QPR and Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who doesn’t fancy life in the Championship and is out of favour with Harry Redknapp.

Cesar is 34, not too old for a goalkeeper, and would be available for a small fee or even on loan, but his wages of around £90,000-per-week may make even City think twice, unless he is willing to take a drop.

Cesar’s ready availability is reportedly what makes him a strong option for City, but the Telegraph adds that he could demand guarantees that he joins as first-choice goalkeeper.

Two Frenchmen linked with the Blues have made interesting comments in recent days about their future prospects.

Kurt Zouma, who as my blog colleague exclusive revealed on Tuesday City have made an £11million bid for, has admitted that there is interest from the Premier League: “There is contact from the Premier League. The physical side of the game is appealing to defenders.”

Meanwhile, PSG and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi has refused to rule out a move away from the French giants, despite admitting his first wish is to stay there. Matuidi is struggling to agree fresh terms with PSG, and with half a season left on his contract could become one of Europe’s hottest free agents if he opts to leave. City are interested in him, but both Chelsea and Barcelona could offer competition.

City continue to scout Spain U21 winger Carles Gil according to SuperDeporte. Gil, who is currently impressing at Elche on loan from Valencia, is being watched by City scouts regularly and has a modest release clause of £6.7million.

Valencia are desperate for Gil to pen a new deal, but scouts from City, QPR, Atlético Madrid and Sevilla have returned to their clubs with very favourable reports and Txiki Begiristain could make his move before too long…

One of City’s Ghanaian continent signed from the Right to Dream academy, Bismark Adjei-Boateng, has signed a new contract with City after a successful year on loan at Norwegian partner club Strømsgodset, where he recently won the league along with City pals Abdisalam Ibrahim and Razak Nuhu.

Boateng scored 8 goals in 20 games from midfield for the new Norwegian champions, a very impressive return, and his reward has been a new deal.

City have a growing number of youngsters from Ghana on the books, but all of them are farmed out abroad, mostly to Norway at first, as UK work permits are impossible for them to get right away.

The most high profile of the Right to Dream crew so far has been Mohammed Abu, who City have loaned to Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany), Rayo Vallecano (Spain) and FC Lorient (France) in recent years. Abu has also won his first 4 caps for Ghana while on City’s books. But having struggled to make an impression in top European leagues, Abu is now on loan at Aarhus in Denmark.

“Ruining football”, they moan over and over again. Meanwhile, City continue to work on an academy with a scope and vision unprecedented on these shores. But even before the completion of the new City Football Academy, there has been a great effort to improve the standards of youth development in recent years.

Some proof of that can be found in recent England under-16 call-ups for the Victory Shield. City’s Cameron Humphreys, Will Patching and Lukas Nmecha are in the England U16 squad for the final Victory Shield game against Scotland on the 29th.

This means that over the three Victory Shield games, a total of SEVEN young English lads from City’s academy will have played a part in England’s U16 Victory Shield campaign. Not bad for a club that, according to some, doesn’t care about developing English talent.

And City’s youth revolution is still in its early stages and just getting started…

Finally, Manuel Pellegrini has visited Abu Dhabi and met up with City owner Sheikh Mansour. In this photo, he (left), Mansour (middle) and chairman Khaldoon (right) look very amused by something. Maybe they were watching a re-run of September’s derby massacre.

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