This isn’t official, but Pellegrini’s remarks to Sky News Arabia pretty much confirmed that Pantilimon will again be between the sticks against Spurs. However, Pellegrini’s last comment may be the biggest hint yet that City intend to persist with Joe.
“I think at this moment that maybe Joe needs a rest but we still have a lot of trust in Joe and he’s still a very important player in our squad.
“It’s very important for me as a manager – you don’t have 11 players – you have 22.
“I analyse what they do every week – I talk with them.
“I am absolutely convinced he will come back to his performances of the last two years.”
There are more questions than answers about John Guidetti’s future at the moment, with new reports from the Netherlands suggesting he could be on his way out of City.
Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad claimed on Wednesday that City have told Guidetti he can leave the club for around £4.1m. This seems a ridiculously low fee for a player of such potential, even if he has missed around 1 1/2 years through illness and injury.
Feyenoord technical director Martin van Geel also seemed astounded by that price tag when asked about the former Feyenoord loan hero.
The Dutch side are planning regular talks with City, the two clubs having a good relationship, and van Geel spoke of them and the Swedish forward:
“The arrangement with [Brian] Marwood was already planned for a long time and in the first instance it won’t be about Guidetti at all.
“But if I will be there of course I will also speak with him about Guidetti.
“I have read he could leave for €5m (£4.1m), but if you ask it to me I question this is right.
“We still have contact with John and he has a special place here and that feeling is from both sides.”
Today’s Daily Mirror linked Guidetti with a January loan move to Championship side Doncaster Rovers, who are managed by City legend Paul Dickov.
Swedish outlet Fotbolldirekt responded to that story today with the following comments from an alleged source close to City:
“No, no, it’s clear that City will not loan such players as Guidetti to a club like Doncaster. What would he or City gain from it? He’d go to a club of a different level if City chose to loan him.
It’s impossible to tell where he might end up, but Pellegrini would not loan him to Doncaster – there is no logic to such claims.”
Who knows where Guidetti will end up? No one it seems, so reports of him leaving for a mere £4.1m shouldn’t be taken as gospel. For now let’s listen to his father Mike Guidetti, who told Fotbolldirekt:
“The only thing that matters is that John is 100% a Manchester City player.”
Abdisalam Ibrahim is on his way back to Manchester after a successful loan spell at Stromsgodset, where he helped the Norwegian side win their first league title for 43 years.
Now the 22-year-old midfielder, whose contract expires next summer and who is linked with new clubs all the time, is planning to sort out his future, and told Sky Sports:
“I am very happy with my successful loan spell at Stromsgodset and helping them to win the title.
“Several clubs have been in contact, but I still don’t know what’s going to happen in January.
“I am back in Carrington this week and want to meet Manuel Pellegrini.
“I would love to get a chance in the first-team, get games and prove myself to the boss that I can play at the highest level from January as my loan agreement doesn’t finish with Stromsgodset until December 31st.
“I’ve been at Manchester City since 2007, I became a supporter of the club and feel like a local boy.
“I would love to be given a chance and give everything for this special club.”
Ibrahim took to Twitter to express his excitement at returning to City and working with his mentor Patrick Vieira again:
Sheffield United boss and former City player (and a forgettable one at that) Nigel Clough confirmed to BBC Radio Sheffield that young City striker Harry Bunn will return to his parent club when his loan spell ends next week.
Clough said that Bunn has done well, but added bluntly that there “are five or six players ahead of him”. Harry has recently been playing and scoring frequently for Sheffield United’s U21 team, but he could be doing that in the U21 Premier League for City.
20-year-old Bunn has made just two appearances for Sheffield United’s first-team since joining on loan in September and has struggled to turn his prolific goal scoring exploits at youth level to the senior game when loaned out.
His City contract is up next summer and if recent history is anything to go by, he may leave the club he has been a part of for over a decade.
Around 4,000 supporters have now joined City’s waiting list for new season tickets when the stadium is expanded, each putting down a £100 deposit to secure their future seat.
This is an impressive total in the short time they have become available and it is looking more and more likely that City will go ahead with plans to expand both sides of the Etihad now, rather than just one side.
Adding the 4,000 new applicants to the current season ticket holders, City now essentially have 40,000 season ticket holders and that number will only increase before the expansion is complete in time for the 2015/16 season.
If the full expansion goes ahead, the Etihad Stadium will hold 60,000 fans, putting it side by side with Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium for capacity. If there is any progress on safe standing before then, the capacity could rise to around 65,500.
Another long international break is almost over… but not quite. If you’re bored while waiting for the return of the mighty Blues, check out some of our recent articles and exclusives on the blog:
– 5 1/2 years later… what happened to the FA Youth Cup winning squad? (21/11, NEW)
– City’s World Cup roll-call and absentees (20/11)
– EXCLUSIVE – City run rule over German midfielder Draxler (20/11)
– City owners hold safe-standing talks (19/11)