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.
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.
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.”
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:
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: