The good news is that this will take place at Fortress Etihad, where City have been so strong this season.
The bad news is that it falls just before the Barcelona home game and City would ideally have liked to make wholesale changes, but if they do that now it risks an FA Cup exit.
The English powers-that-be have often been criticised for not helping out their teams in Europe, but will surely have to put this game on the Saturday (February 15), or else City will be playing Chelsea on Sunday (February 16) and Barcelona on Tuesday (February 18).
Chelsea have no European game that week, so don’t have that worry and will be able to field their strongest side no matter what.
Either way, this is a season of blockbuster games for City! And those on the FA Cup scheme are assured that tickets will be priced no more than £25 for the Chelsea game, as stipulated by the club.
Yaya Toure has admitted that he may quit international football after this year’s World Cup.
Yaya, who turns 31 in May, has been considering his international career for some time, especially after back-to-back African Cup of Nations tournaments in 2012 and 2013 meant City were without him for many important games.
The World Cup would be an ideal time for him to bow out and would mean he could skip the 2015 African Cup of Nations in Morocco.
Africa’s best footballer said:
“I will see what happens at the World Cup. It’s a very difficult decision and I want to do it at the right moment.
“I am thinking about it, but I haven’t decided when it will happen.
“I want to leave with a good name, in a good moment. The generation of players we have has always been regarded as something special, so we all want to give something good to remember.”
City are long-term admirers PSG and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi and according to Canal+ in France, have offered him a bumper £8m signing-on fee to snub PSG’s new contract offer and join the Blues on a free transfer next summer.
26-year-old Matuidi is an excellent holding midfielder who Carlo Ancelotti described as one of Europe’s best last season, and PSG’s president was recently adamant that he will sign a new deal.
It’s thought that some legal issues with his former agent are holding up the new contract and that City are using this time to try and convince him to swap Paris for Manchester, with wages of around £100,000-per-week said to be on offer.
Matuidi is very happy in Paris and it has been expected for a while now that he’ll stay, but City’s offer of a big signing-on fee, a good wage and playing in a superior league may tempt him.
City have dealt with his current agent, the notorious Mino Raiola, before, when signing and selling Mario Balotelli, and Txiki is reported to have been in dialogue with him.
Garcia has improved considerably lately, but City still rely too much on Yaya and Fernandinho, and the addition of a top level midfielder like Matuidi would give Pellegrini more options.
Another midfielder linked with City today is Benfica’s highly rated 20-year-old, André Gomes.
Benfica have just sold Gomes’ rights to super-agent Jorge Mendes for £12.5m, giving Mendes full power to sell the Portugal U21 international to another club this January.
A Bola names only City as a potential destination for Gomes, described as a technically excellent young prospect, while UK-based sources suggest he has been offered to Liverpool.
Gomes is not yet a regular for Benfica, playing mostly for their B team in Portugal’s Segunda Liga, and is a work in progress, so whoever signs him is likely to loan him out or put him into their reserve team.
City’s signing of Bruno Zuculini, another highly rated midfielder who will join in June, may limit their interest in a player of a similar age and position.
Two months ago I wrote an article on the FA Youth Cup winning side of 2007/08.
One of the stars of that team was Vladimir Weiss, who City staff and fans had huge hopes for. But at the age of 24, the Slovakian winger is becoming something of a journeyman and his latest move has left many startled.
Weiss has been a regular this season for Greek champions Olympiacos, who have just signed Abdisalam Ibrahim from City, even playing regularly in the Champions League and scoring a wonder goal against PSG.
Yet he has made the strange choice to join Qatari side Lekhwiya SC. No doubt the money will be good there, but at 24 surely he should be wanting to play in Europe and in the Champions League.