The City Summary (January 19, 2014)

Wolfsburg want to re-sign club legend Edin Dzeko from City as part of an ambitious recruitment campaign, according to Die Welt in Germany.

Backed by the millions of Volkswagen, Wolfsburg have been known as one of the Bundesliga’s big spenders, with heavy net spend every year.

Some bad investments have seen the 2008/09 German champions fall out of contention in recent years, but the £17m signing of Brazil midfielder Luis Gustavo from Bayern Munich in August followed by £17m signing of Kevin De Bruyne from Chelsea this month shows they mean business again.

Now, according to Die Welt, they have Dzeko in their sights, the man who scored 85 goals in 142 games before City splashed out £27m for him over three years ago. Wolfsburg want a return to the Champions League and feel that Dzeko up front could help the cause.

It’s hard to see City sanctioning the January sale of Dzeko, who is in the best form of his City career and looks very happy. Letting an in-form striker go now would threaten City’s push for four trophies and with Jovetic yet to prove his fitness, there would be the risk of just two available strikers in the tough months to come.

Next summer could be a different story. Dzeko will have just 12 months left on his deal come June and City will either have to sell him or offer him a new contract.

If Dzeko continues to play like he has been and fully accepts Pellegrini’s rotation system, a new contract may be on the cards. Otherwise, the likes of Arsenal, Inter, Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg could bid for the striker and City may have to let him go.

City have completed the signing of Nigeria U17 World Cup winner Chidiebere Nwakali, who follows Kelechi Iheanacho from that talented squad to join City.

The move was confirmed by Nwakali’s agent, Babawo Mohammed, and as you can see below the 17-year-old, who can play in midfield or at right-back, has already been to Manchester where he passed a medical and signed his papers.


Nwakali has signed a 4-year deal according to his agent, but it wasn’t specified whether he can join before his 18th birthday or whether he has a pre-contract until then like Iheanacho was reported to have.

Reports claim that Nwakali could join up with City’s under-18 team soon, assuming he is able to get a work permit. Of last reports, City were trying to get a work permit from the Home Office for Iheanacho.

Another member of Nigeria’s U17 squad who was linked with City, Chidera Eze, is joining FC Porto. Near enough every member of the squad that dominated last year’s U17 World Cup is being snapped up by a European side.

If City can fend off competition, the “Nigerian Neymar” Musa Yahaya could make it a hat-trick of Nigerian signings for the Blues. Rumour has it, though, that Real Madrid have entered the race with City and Spurs for this particular starlet…

After winning their group at the ALKASS International Cup tournament, City’s U16s came up against Real Madrid’s U16s earlier today.

This was a high quality game between two good academy teams, but City didn’t play with the same fluency as in previous games. This could be down to fatigue setting in, with little time to rest between games, or the higher level of opposition.

It was a close match that remained 0-0 for the majority. Both teams wasted glorious chances, with Zackarias Faour, one of City’s best players in this competition, having a real off day and missing a handful of good openings.

Once again, young Spanish midfielder Manu Garcia stood out for City with his superb passing range and vision. Garcia is able to cut open defences from deep positions with just one pass and did so several times.

Local boy Will Patching also looked good again when on the ball, but wasn’t as involved as in previous games.

Unfortunately, City squandered their chances to win a game that Real Madrid slightly edged, and were ropey at the back, something that was finally exploited late on when Real pounced on a mistake by Demeaco Duhaney and scored.

It finished 1-0 to Real Madrid after they survived a late onslaught from the boy Blues, but City can again be proud of this talented young U16 team that has great potential.

The competition isn’t over yet, with losing teams set to face each other, and City play Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol tomorrow at 12:30pm GMT.

22-year-old City forward Alex Nimely has been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Nimely drove the wrong way down a one-way street and ended up smashing into several cars (and almost some people) as you can see here.

He isn’t the first young City player to make a stupid mistake, and this sort of reckless behaviour is something they’re trying to avoid with the younger age groups nowadays.

Nimely has been at City since 2008 and was seen as a good prospect, but his development has been hampered by regular injuries and he is expected to be released when his contract expires next summer.


The City Summary (January 16, 2014)

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.

City’s U16 team is currently competing at the ALKASS International Cup tournament in Doha, Qatar.

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…

EXCLUSIVE – Kolarov a new deal

City are poised to hand Kolarov a surprise lifeline and offer him a new deal to stay at the Etihad.

The Serbian left-back, 28, appeared to be heading for the exit and has 12 months remaining on his current £90,000 a week deal going into this summer.

A number of clubs, including Mancini’s Galatasaray, are keen to do business at a reduced £8m. Italian giants Roma and Inter Milan have also expressed an interest.

City, however, want to sit down with Kolarov before the season is out and discuss a potential new two-year extension.

Kolarov has managed to force his way in ahead of Gael Clichy on a number of occasions this term and is certainly enjoying his best spell at the club.

Pellegrini has clearly had a positive impact on AK, who has been outstanding in recent weeks.

A new deal would be on reduced terms, but with lucrative bonuses inserted.

If Pellegrini thinks he is now worth it, who are we to argue?

The City Summary (January 14, 2014)

City will look to extend their incredible 15-match unbeaten run tomorrow when they host Blackburn in an FA Cup 3rd Round replay. This isn’t a game City wanted but brought it on themselves with a complacent performance at Ewood, which forced a week of warm weather training in the UAE to be cancelled.

The good news is that after a exactly a month on the sidelines, City hero Sergio Aguero returns to the squad. Chances are he will start on the bench, but as we revealed a week ago he could play some minutes ahead of the weekend game against Cardiff.

With Samir Nasri out for up to 2 months (Pellegrini said today he hopes it can be 5-6 weeks), City will again rely heavily on David Silva, but he is out of tomorrow’s game with a minor injury. Joining him on the sidelines is Yaya Toure, who has a back problem, but both are expected to be fit for the Cardiff game.

It hardly has to be said that both Jovetic and Rodwell remain unavailable for selection, however Jovetic should be back “next week” says the City boss. Notably, Pellegrini revealed Nastasic wasn’t injured at weekend but left out because a defender had to be excluded and Lescott was given the spot on the bench.

Pellegrini has the usual choice of how much to weaken his team after Blackburn gave City such a tough game at Ewood. City have not had a mid-week break for a long time so rotation is crucial. The return to fitness of Micah Richards is a boost and Portuguese starlet Marcos Lopes could find himself on the pitch again at some point tomorrow (and next week at West Ham).

If City win tomorrow, their 4th round fixture will be a rematch from last year’s 3rd round clash against Watford after the Hornets beat Bristol City tonight.

Possible City starting 11 vs. Blackburn: Pantilimon, Richards, Nastasic, Lescott, Clichy, Garcia, Fernandinho, Milner, Navas, Lopes, Dzeko

Rovers will bring 4,000 fans tomorrow, impressive for a mid-week cup replay on short notice. City’s ticket sales have also been better than expected, with parts of the third level opened after originally being closed for the game.

John Guidetti today completed a loan move to Stoke City for the rest of the season.

The deal has been on ice for a few days, but the permanent signing of former City midfielder Stephen Ireland freed up a loan spot for Guidetti.

This is the opportunity Guidetti has been waiting for, to try and prove himself at Premier League level. He did it at every age group for City’s youth team and did it in the Eredivisie for Feyenoord, now can he do it in the Premier League?

Stoke still have to play Chelsea, United and Arsenal this season… so do us a favour John and put a few past them!

After his horror tackle on Samir Nasri at weekend, Newcastle defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa says he has been trying to reach his fellow Frenchman by phone, but Nasri hasn’t answered.

Yanga-Mbiwa wants to apologise, but is claiming he didn’t mean to injure Samir, which isn’t a very convincing argument as he didn’t even target the ball as he repeatedly tried to bring Nasri down.

Yanga-Mbiwa says he will try again to contact Nasri and apologise for a foul that could have ruined the playmaker’s World Cup dream, but luckily will keep him out for less time than feared.

City continue to be strongly linked with Porto and France central defender Eliaquim Mangala, with France’s L’Equipe going as far as to claim City already have a 5-year contract written up for him.

Even if that is true, it doesn’t make this a done deal. As always, Porto want top dollar for one of their star players and with so much interest around Europe in Mangala, are holding out for around £41m.

22-year-old Mangala is a dominant and physical defender who is tailor made for the Premier League, but isn’t the finished product and such an investment would be in the hope that Mangala reaches his full potential.

If City were able to sign Mangala or any other central defender this month, it’d free Joleon Lescott to move elsewhere, with West Ham at the front of the queue.

Manchester City v CSKA Moscow - UEFA Champions League
Russian giants Zenit are still hopeful of a deal to sign City left-back Aleksander Kolarov, according to Russian news service Izvestia.

With Domenico Criscito poised to leave Zenit in the near future, Kolarov is their main target and they are reportedly willing to hand him a 4-year contract on similar to what he earns at City.

Italian clubs also like Kolarov, but the unwillingness of Serie A sides to spend heavily on transfer fees or wages could give Zenit the advantage, if Kolarov is actually available.

Kolarov has been a much improved player under Pellegrini with numerous assists from the left. The Daily Mail linked City with a £30m bid for 18-year-old Southampton left-back Luke Shaw a couple of days ago, but would selling Kolarov be wise?

Kolarov appears to be entering his prime as a player and is now Pellegrini’s preferred choice ahead of Clichy, but his £100,000-a-week wages are high for a left-back and his contract only has around 18 months remaining.

This gives City chiefs Soriano and Begiristain the dilemma of whether to keep the Serb or cash in on him and invest in a player like Shaw.

Abdisalam Ibrahim’s mooted transfer away from City appears to be close, with Sky Sports claiming it is now a race between Premier League side Swansea City and Greek champions Olympiacos for his services.

Dimitri Seluk, agent of Yaya Toure, was quoted in the Greek press as saying the 22-year-old midfielder could be heading to Olympiacos, where he would reunite with a fellow member of City’s 2007/08 FA Youth Cup winning squad, Vladimir Weiss.

Olympiacos face United in the next round of the Champions League, although Greek reports claim that if Olympiacos do sign Ibrahim they could loan him out for more experience.

Ibrahim has always said he’d prefer to stay in the Premier League, so if Swansea’s interest leads to an offer, that move could appeal to him more than playing in Greece.

FC Barcelona v Celtic FC - UEFA Champions League
City’s upcoming MLS franchise New York City FC are planning big things and the Telegraph reports that they could even move for Barcelona icon Xavi.

Xavi would be 35 when NYCFC debut and such a signing would be a huge statement of intent from the ambitious City-owned MLS club.

The New York Red Bulls also want to sign Xavi, but his representatives have, for now at least, cooled talk of any move. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but for now he has priorities such as facing City in the Champions League next month!

City chiefs want NYCFC to play a similar brand of technical and exciting football as City and building the team around Xavi Hernández would be a big step towards achieving that.

The new narrative: “City get all the decisions!”

Now that it’s obvious the “Arabs” won’t “get bored”, the new narrative for City haters is that we’re buying/paying off the referees.

Firstly, let’s be blunt – City have had some beneficial decisions lately, most notably Sterling’s incorrect offside against us (though Liverpool went and scored minutes later anyway) and Tiote’s disallowed goal last weekend.

But as people rant and rave about City’s good fortune, they forget, or perhaps choose to ignore, that it hasn’t all gone City’s way this season.

Here are some examples:

Negredo’s first goal for City is ruled out for offside… but he wasn’t offside. Ironically, this was against Newcastle on the opening day of the season. Do you remember the same outrage from City fans and in the media as on Sunday? I don’t. Granted, we had won the game, but an erroneous offside decision is an erroneous offside decision, no matter what the circumstances.

City are beating Aston Villa away when El Ahmadi scores an offside goal that is given. City lose that game 3-2.

Seb Larsson attempts to cripple Javi Garcia during City’s trip to Sunderland. Not even a yellow card is given. A red card should have been given. City go on to lose that game 1-0.

City did indeed lose that game 1-0, but only after Phil Bardsley had floored Milner with a forearm to the neck, before going on to score. No foul given.

Wilfried Bony equalises for Swansea against City on New Year’s Day… from an offside position.

Yanga-Mbiwa puts Nasri out of action for a couple of months with a nasty tackle. Yellow card given rather than the deserved red card.

(Thanks to “kun” on Bluemoon for several of these images)

The difference is, City fans tend to move on with life after a few hours or a day of annoyance, while certain other fan bases spend the next week expressing their fury in a variety of despicable ways or just blame those damn Arabs for paying off the referees.

The poor decisions against us in the Sunderland and Villa games cost us a possible 6 points. How often do you hear these mentioned when its said City are getting the rub of the green?

Get over it. City have suffered countless bad decisions in the past few years, including a handful this season like the aforementioned (and several not shown there, such as Bayern Munich’s offside goals). Your club probably has too.

Guidetti set for Stoke loan

John Guidetti is set to join Mark Hughes’ Stoke City on loan for the rest of the season.

The deal is being held up while Stoke complete a permanent deal to sign ex-Blue Stephen Ireland from Aston Villa. With Oussama Assaidi already on loan from Liverpool, Stoke have to make Ireland’s deal permanent to free up a loan spot for Guidetti.

As soon as this is sorted, Guidetti’s move to the Potters will be pushed through.

Guidetti has already passed a medical and despite serious interest from across Europe, including late efforts from Lazio and Sampdoria to take him on loan, he will finally be playing Premier League football soon.

Stoke have asked about an option to sign him permanently at the end of the season and while we can’t confirm if there has been any progress on this, you’d think City would say “no” to that.

The Swede is very well thought of by City and Pellegrini, who tried to sign him on loan for Málaga last season. He will have competition such as Peter Crouch up front at Stoke and will hope to replicate the outstanding form that saw him score 20 goals in 23 games while at Feyenoord.

City will be watching the 21-year-old academy product closely. The success of this loan deal could determine whether he is in City’s long-term plans or if his future will lie elsewhere…

EXCLUSIVE – City have Lescott deadline


As we exclusively revealed last week, West Ham are more than willing to ‘pony-up’ the £90,000 a week it would require for Joleon to end his association with us.

And Lescott has made it clear he wants the move and will also sacrifice an additional loyalty payment, a figure we are not privy to, to also help push things through.

City have told the Hammers we will know one way for certain by January 20th if Lescott will get his wish.

This would seem to coincide with players who need to be registered for the next stages of the Champions League?

It’s a small window to try and make something happen in the market, but City are certainly pushing hard to find a top-class replacement.