As revealed the other day by Pellegrini, Stevan Jovetic is finally due to return next week.
We’ve heard this before and many City fans are sceptical, but Jovetic’s own Instagram gives us reason to believe he could be involved against West Ham next Tuesday.
Jovetic last appeared for City on October 30 against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup, so it has been two and a half months since we last saw the 24-year-old.
The return of Jovetic, assuming he can stay fit this time, will be a huge boost for City. Not only does he add another attacking option, but he has a unique skill set and can play a variety of roles in the team.
As we revealed this morning, City are poised to offer the much improved Aleksander Kolarov a new contract in the near future.
Could Kolarov soon be joined by Southampton left-back Luke Shaw? Days ago, the Daily Mail reported that City were willing to splash out £30m for the talented 18-year-old Saints academy graduate.
Since then, Southampton’s ambitious chairman Nicola Cortese has quit and the national press reports that the club is in something of a crisis.
Now the Telegraph reckons City are prepared to enter a bidding war with United and Chelsea for Shaw, suggesting a fee of around £20m, and even claim the player could move within the next 7 days.
If Chelsea launch a bid for Shaw, they will be the favourites because Shaw is an admitted Chelsea fan and that could influence him.
City would also be left with the issue of having three left-backs if they signed Shaw now, unless they loaned him back to Southampton for the rest of the season or sold Clichy in a quick-fire deal.
On day one, City came from behind to thrash Chicago Fire 6-1 with goals from Danny Barbir, Paolo Fernandes, Isaac Buckley-Ricketts (x2) and Zackarias Faour (x2).
Earlier today, the young Blues again came from behind (twice), including from 3-1 down, to beat Aspire Qatar 4-3 with an Aguero style last gasp goal at the death. Today’s goals came from Marcus Wood, Ernest Agyiri and Zackarias Faour (x2).
City have won their group and face the mighty Real Madrid in the next round on Sunday afternoon.
Having watched these games, I was impressed by the technical ability of these lads. The improvements in City’s academy system have been whispered about a lot with some saying City now set the national standard at younger age groups, but until you see the ability of these boys at you don’t realise just how big the improvements are from the days of Willo Flood, Dickson Etuhu and Stephen Jordan.
It’s unfair to hype players up too much at the ages of 14-16, but among the standouts so far have been Manu Garcia, Paolo Fernandes, Will Patching, Isaac Buckley-Ricketts and Ernest Agyiri.
The much talked about Brahim also looks a real diamond and despite only being 14, younger than most of the others, is a lively character not afraid of a tackle. His small frame and lack of physical strength have worked against him in some situations, but you can see the raw talent he has.
Then there is Zackarias Faour, the boy giving the unenviable label of “the new Ibrahimovic”. These labels are usually stupid and way off, but watching him play you can imagine Zlatan looked exactly the same when he was 15. Calm and composed, physically strong, technically excellent, and lethal in front of goal. Faour is the tournament’s leading scorer so far and netted this incredible golazo today.
City’s academy is on the rise again, but it was one of the older lads who was in the spotlight last night as 20-year-old Emyr Huws became the latest academy product to make his first team debut.
Huws has progressed a lot in the past year, thanks in part to a loan move to Northampton Town, and was recently an unused sub for the Welsh national team.
He came on against Blackburn and looked neat and tidy in the 15 or so minutes he played.
The next step for Huws could be a good loan move to a Championship club or similar, but perhaps depending on Jack Rodwell’s availability next week, he could make the squad for the West Ham cup game.
Happy 29th birthday to Pablo Zabaleta! Zaba knows nothing less than 100% and that has made him a City cult hero who will be remembered forever. Ohh, Pablo Zabaleta…