The City Summary (January 23, 2014)

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City will face Sunderland in the Capital One Cup final after Sunderland overcame our neighbours United in the worst penalty shootout ever seen last night.

Many City fans had been expecting United to overturn a slender 2-1 deficit and if not for David de Gea’s butter fingers they might have won on the away goals rule and set up the first ever major cup final between the Manchester clubs.

Instead, City fans can put the body armour away and expect more of a friendly day out at Wembley on March 2nd.

City have been given an allocation of 31,580 for this game, with adult prices ranging from £40 to £100. Most season card holders should be able to get a ticket, but those on the League Cup scheme will be rewarded for their loyalty by having first dibs.

You can find ticket prices and criteria at the official site.


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Late last night, City again made headlines worldwide when Football Federation Australia announced the club has purchased Hyundai A-League minnows Melbourne Heart.

City have bought a majority 80% share in the club, with NRL club Melbourne Storm picking up the other 20%. Much like the City/Yankees collaboration with New York City FC, this seems a smart move and will enable City to tap into the knowledge of local businessmen.

CEO Ferran Soriano said the intention is to make Melbourne Heart, which is more than likely going to be renamed Melbourne City, into a major player in Australian football. Right now, they sit bottom of the league and have the fourth lowest attendances in the A-League.

Premier League fans will be familiar with their captain Harry Kewell, who spent years in England at Leeds and Liverpool. Former Dutch international Orlando Engelaar and former Coventry striker Michael Mifsud also ply their trade for the club.

Melbourne Heart play their games at beautiful AAMI Park, which seats 30,050 fans. Some will wonder if they might move to Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, but with a current average attendance of around 10,000, a 50,000+ stadium might be too much, too soon.

City want to revolutionise football and are looking to create a “family” of clubs around the world, who will share the same footballing philosophy and scouting networks, while maintaining strong ties to the local community like City.

No major announcements are planned until mid-2014 and Melbourne Heart’s season is likely to end without too many changes.


Manchester City are now the second highest earners in English football, behind only United.

The annual Deloitte Football Money League was released yesterday and showed that City have overtaken Arsenal and Chelsea this year with record turnover of £271m.

This makes City the sixth highest earning club in the world, not bad for a club that those with heads buried in sand believe relies entirely on a wealthy owner.

These figures should also mean that City comply with the first monitoring period of Financial Fair Play, though the official financial report is yet to be released.

The area in which City lag behind their rivals is matchday revenue, with City’s ticket prices, considered to be the best value for money in the league, and lack of corporate/executive seats making for comparatively low matchday income, despite average attendances of around 47,000 (more than the likes of Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool who have higher matchday revenue).

The stadium expansion will improve matchday income significantly with many more premium seats to be introduced, along with more standard seats that will include the much talked about £299 value season tickets.

The full breakdown can be seen below (click to enlarge).

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City have yet to reveal the extent of Alvaro Negredo’s shoulder injury after he landed heavily against West Ham.

He was seen leaving Bridgewater Hospital in a sling on Wednesday, but the Daily Mail reckons it is nothing serious and he should be back for the Spurs game next week.

Pellegrini should clarify The Beast’s condition at tomorrow’s press conference.


With City playing in the Capital One Cup final on March 2nd, the Old Trafford derby, which was scheduled for March 1st, has been postponed.

United will have that weekend off while over 30,000 Blues travel south to Wembley.

The new date of the match is yet to be confirmed.


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Following months of speculation and links to countless clubs, Abdisalam Ibrahim has left Manchester City after 6 1/2 years at the club.

The 22-year-old, who has been fairly outspoken to the Norwegian press about a lack of chances at City, was granted an early release by City, half a season before his contract was due to expire.

Despite links to many big clubs, including Arsenal at one point, Ibrahim has flown to Greece and will join former City youth team-mate Vladimir Weiss at Olympiacos in the coming days.

It’s thought that Olympiacos will loan him out to Crete-based club Ergotelis FC for experience.

Ibrahim made three first team appearances for City’s first team, including a Premier League appearance against Liverpool in 2010.

Best of luck to Abdi on his new adventure.


City have been rebuffed in another attempt to sign Real Madrid defender Pepe, according to El Confidencial.

30-year-old Pepe was City’s number one defensive target last summer, with Pellegrini looking for a high-level defender to add experience to the defence.

With young defender Raphael Varane badly injured at the time, Real wouldn’t sanction the sale of Pepe and that stance hasn’t changed.

City had to settle for Martin Demichelis instead, but with Joleon Lescott on his way out in the near future, City are looking at defensive options.

Both Kurt Zouma and Eliaquim Mangala have been targets, but deals for either are difficult this month. City have been very interested in Mangala, but Porto want around £40m for the young Frenchman, a price City feel is too high.

If a defender isn’t signed this month, City will hold on to Lescott until the end of his contract in June.


In the same article as the Pepe news, El Confidencial had a snippet on Isco. Remember him?

Nasri’s blistering form this season has made the Isco saga easy to forget, but he was one of City’s main targets last summer and was tipped to follow Pellegrini from Málaga to Manchester.

The Spanish publication claims that Isco, now of Real Madrid, is considered “persona non grata” (a very unwelcome person) at City, because he had given the club his word that he’d join, but went back on that when Real dispatched Zidane to lure him to the Bernabéu.

Of course, football is a fickle business and if Isco does ever become available, an apology could quickly change things…

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The City Summary (January 14, 2014)

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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 City Summary (January 1, 2014)

Happy New Year! And what a New Year’s Day it has been with City winning away at Swansea.

Unfortunately, Arsenal and Chelsea also won, but many a Blue will be smiling after United lost at home to hurt their chances of qualifying for the Champions Europa League.

On to the news…


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It’s been apparent for a few months now that Joleon Lescott will leave City, but most have been expecting his departure to coincide with the end of his contract next summer.

However, Turkish side Besiktas are making an attempt to sign him in January. This isn’t even newspaper speculation, as their board member Ahmet Kavalc has come out and said it:

“We are negotiating with City over Lescott. There will be some important developments about this on Thursday.”

Besiktas would have no need to negotiate with City if they wanted Lescott in the summer, since his contract ends then, so that comment seems to confirm that they want him in January.

Lescott’s agent has also confirmed interest from the Turkish club to Sky Sports, but made it clear that Joleon is focusing on City right now and that if Besiktas want him before his contract ends, they will have to negotiate something with City.

Lescott would surely only be let go in January if a replacement was signed. City have made moves to sign Kurt Zouma in recent months, but aren’t alone in that particular chase for one of Europe’s biggest prospects.

Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolás Otamendi (both Porto) and Ezequiel Garay (Benfica) are some of the other defenders who have been scouted by City, but January deals with Portuguese clubs are never easy.


Despite rumours linking him with Napoli and Benfica (in a swap deal with Nemanja Matić), Javi Garcia’s agent Manuel Garcia Quilon has told Radio Renascenca in Portugal that his client is happy at City and has no plans to leave.

“Javi Garcia to Lisbon? We have no news about it. The player liked his time in Lisbon and how he developed as a player but he is now at Manchester City.

“In the current situation, we have not even looked at the possibility (for a move) for he is happy in England, with City and fighting for titles.”


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John Guidetti’s immediate future should be sorted soon, with Pellegrini saying today that a loan move is likely for the young striker who is still working his way back to full fitness.

Guidetti has made the bench a couple of times for City, but weekly football would be better both for his recovery and development.

In recent days, the Daily Mail has linked Guidetti with a January loan move to Stoke or West Ham. Clubs from all over Europe are interested in him, including La Liga’s Málaga and Real Betis, but a Premier League move would allow City to evaluate his ability and potential at this level.

Guidetti has split from his agent Per Jonsson in recent days, but his dad Mike Guidetti said there is no special meaning to this. On his son’s City future, Mike said:

“Since he is with City and does not intend to leave the club, there is no problem.”


Following months of speculation, 22-year-old midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim is set to leave City after seven years with the club.

Ibrahim has been linked with many big clubs around England and Europe, but the latest rumours link him with more modest French sides Saint-Étienne, Toulouse and Lorient.

Abdi confirmed to Sky Sports that his future lies elsewhere, saying:

“I wanted to sign for a Premier League club but it looks like I could be going abroad as I am getting better proposals.

“I just want to play regular football for a coach who will also develop me and improve my game.

“I’m 22-years-old now, it’s not time for me to be just training and not having to be looking forward to a game on a Saturday.”

Ibrahim has made three first team appearances for City and was seen as a big prospect, but like Abdul Razak, who joined Anzhi this season, hasn’t developed quite as well as the club hoped.


Kelechi Iheanacho’s move to City could be back on, according to MTNFootball.com.

This strange saga has seen the U17 World Cup MVP sign a contract with City and pass a medical, only to back off when the club made it clear they wouldn’t release certain financial bonuses until he turned 18.

Iheanacho has since been negotiating with FC Porto, according to reports from Nigeria, and there are even stories saying Porto’s rivals, Sporting Lisbon, could sneak in and sign the attacking prospect.

But MTNFootball.com claims that agents are working on getting UK visas for the Iheanachos to iron out disagreements with City and for Kelechi to join the club.

City are reported to be closing in on a deal for his Nigeria U17 team-mate, Chidiebere Nwakali, as reported here a few days ago.


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704,000 people watched City vs. Liverpool on NBCSN last week, the highest ever audience for a Boxing Day Premier League match in the USA.

NBC’s record audience for a Premier League game this season was City’s drubbing of United on September 13, with 852,000 people witnessing that masterclass.

The City Summary (December 27, 2013)

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Christmas is over but a fantastic month for City continued yesterday with our 2-1 win over Liverpool.

Football never sleeps so it’s time to wrap up events from recent days, starting with City’s injury situation going into tomorrow’s game against Palace.

Aguero, Jovetic, Micah and Demichelis all look set to miss the game through injury. The good news is that both Jovetic and Micah were doing fitness work on the Etihad pitch before yesterday’s game, meaning they can’t be far off returning.

Negredo limped off the pitch when replaced by Dzeko, but this is thought to be nothing serious, just a dead leg.

Zabaleta, who returned from a hamstring problem in record time, was also struggling at the end of the game, but this looked to be cramp rather than a recurrence.

Both Negredo and Zabaleta are expected to be rested tomorrow, begging the question of who will start at right-back again. Clichy struggled against Fulham and with Kolarov having started against Liverpool, may return to the left. Boyata could be given a chance, especially if Milner starts further forward.

Nastasic is back from injury and could start. With two games in 46 hours, Pellegrini is going to have to make changes, but some players will have to play again because it’s impossible to make 10 outfield changes in a league where even the strugglers can spring a surprise.

A win over Palace would complete one of the most stunning months in City history, which so far has seen 7 wins, 1 draw and 0 defeats despite a fixture pile-up and plethora of injuries.

Possible City team vs. Crystal Palace: Hart, Boyata, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Fernandinho, Garcia, Milner, Silva, Navas, Dzeko


Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure have been named in L’Equipe’s 2013 Team of the Year, the only two Premier League stars to feature in a team dominated by Bayern Munich players.

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Yaya is having one of the most productive seasons of his career so far.


Edin Dzeko has another suitor according to Marca in Spain, with Valencia set to move for the Bosnian should billionaire Peter Lim’s takeover go through smoothly.

Dzeko is reported to be top of Valencia’s wishlist with the new owner willing to spend around £40m in January, and their new financial power could allow them to meet Dzeko’s wages of around £130,000-a-week.

Pellegrini would prefer to keep Dzeko who he rates and still has plans for, but City’s dilemma is that his contract has only 18 months left now and his value is only going to drop.

But with Aguero currently injured and Jovetic still trying to get fit after a barrage of muscle injuries, City may refuse to sanction the sale of Dzeko in January.

Marca claims that Valencia have made contact already, while Inter and Borussia Dortmund may rival any offer for the striker.


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City’s deal to sign U17 World Cup MVP Kelechi Iheanacho is on the verge of collapse over a financial dispute.

Iheanacho has already passed a medical in Madrid and signed a contract to join the Blues, but because of his age it can be torn up and that is exactly what could happen.

The 17-year-old and his family were “shocked” to learn that they would not receive any of their financial incentives until the Nigerian starlet turns 18.

City have agreed to pay his academy £300,000, the player £250,000, and his father £350,000, but reports suggest these bonuses would not be handed out until January 2015.

As a result of City’s stance, the player is now considering an alternative proposal from Portuguese giants FC Porto to join them.

City’s offer remains on the table, but Iheanacho and his family seem very money-driven and unless City budge on their stance they could miss out on the young forward.


Málaga sporting director Mario Husillos was in attendance at yesterday’s City vs. Liverpool clash and held talks with his friend Txiki Begiristain.

Málaga recently sold one of European football’s most exciting teen prospects, 14-year-old Brahim Abdelkader Diaz, to City, and Husillos is hoping for something in return.

A loan deal for John Guidetti appears to be Málaga’s main priority with Jovetic and Rodwell, two others Málaga like, unlikely to be made available.


According to the Daily Mail, City are pushing for a compensation fee of around £250,000 for midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim, who has been told he can leave the club by Pellegrini.

22-year-old Ibrahim is out of contract next summer, but City hope to move him on in January according to the report.

Swansea, Everton, Southampton, QPR and Reading are among the English clubs rumoured to want him, but that is only a small selection of the clubs linked with the Norwegian.


City are exploring the possibility of another partner club in Europe, according to the Daily Mail.

City already have partnerships with 11 clubs in Europe and Africa, but are limited to Scandinavian clubs such as Strømsgodset when it comes to farming out youngsters from non-EU countries who can’t get a work permit.

So it would make sense if they struck a similar partnership with a club in a higher quality league, and the Mail reports that City are looking at Holland and Belgium for potential partnerships.

Not only would this give City a higher quality option for kids without work permits, but would allow them to send other youth players to a league of higher standard than the Swedish or Danish leagues.


The atmosphere was fantastic at last night’s game, but not only on the terraces! There was plenty of singing on the concourse, with the Zaba song quickly overtaking Kompany’s as the most popular song!

The City Summary (December 18, 2013)

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City will play West Ham in the Capital One Cup semi final after tonight’s draw.

The first leg will take place at the Etihad on January 7-8 and the second leg will be at the Boleyn Ground on January 21-22.

West Ham away is one of City’s few Premier League wins on the road so far this season, but the Blues will hope to continue their blistering home form and put the tie out of reach before heading down to London.

The other semi final sees United take on Sunderland and already people are anticipating a Manchester derby at Wembley in March!

One step at a time though as neither West Ham or Sunderland will be in the mood to roll over when they are so close to a big cup final.

If just one of the two Manchester sides reaches the final, the Old Trafford derby will have to be rescheduled with it due to take place the day after the Capital One Cup final.


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Pellegrini caused a lot of worry among City fans last night when he suggested Aguero could be out for 8 weeks.

We posted earlier in the same day that Aguero could be back sooner than expected, possibly as soon as the Newcastle game.

So it was no surprise we got a bit of stick when Pellegrini revealed his fears after the win over Leicester.

Well, tonight the Telegraph is reporting that the injury is not as bad as Pellegrini feared after all, and that Aguero should be available for selection before the end of January.

Maybe Pellegrini just got the maths wrong…

In less pleasing news, the Telegraph reports that Zabaleta could miss up to a month with the hamstring injury he suffered last night.

This is a desperately disappointing news with Micah Richards back on the treatment table as he is far too often.

City are thought to be considering Milner, Rodwell and Boyata for the right-back role. Milner said he’d play there if asked and knowing him, he’d do a fine job.


Just when you thought the speculation over a new goalkeeper had gone away, the Daily Mirror and some in the Spanish media come back with this one…

Representatives of Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas have reportedly offered the 32-year-old to both City and Arsenal.

Casillas is Real Madrid’s “cup” goalkeeper nowadays and is stuck in the same situation as Joe Hart right now.

Pellegrini continues to resist the pressure to restore Hart to his Premier League starting 11, despite England’s number one looking more comfortable in recent cup games.

Unless or until Hart is restored to his former spot, speculation about his future and potential replacements will never go away it seems.


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Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg are the latest club to register an interest in City left-back Aleksander Kolarov, according to TMW in Italy.

Serie A sides Juventus and Inter are already known to be interested, but Kolarov has been used a lot by Pellegrini this season and unless a top-class replacement can be found in the tricky January window, there is little chance of him leaving any time soon.

Kolarov has admitted he’d love to go back to Italy some day, which has led to the predictable and misleading “Kolarov wants Italy move” headlines, when he made it clear he could be at City for a while yet.

Were he to move to Russia, he would be cup-tied for Zenit, who face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League round of 16.


Pellegrini’s former club Málaga are interested in taking a City star on loan in January, according to ElDesmarque.

Mario Husillos has arrived as sporting director at Málaga and has good relations with City’s Txiki Begiristain, opening the door to possible loan deals.

Málaga are keen on Stevan Jovetic, John Guidetti and Jack Rodwell, with Guidetti seen as the most realistic choice.

The chances of Jovetic heading to La Liga on loan are near enough zero, with City intending to make full use him in the first team once he is available.

A lack of cover in midfield besides Garcia would also seem to rule out Rodwell, unless City dip into the transfer market next January.

Even Guidetti wouldn’t be a simple acquisition for Málaga with huge interest from elsewhere, including Betis.

Bundesliga sides Hoffenheim and Hamburg are among the many European clubs to have made recent enquiries for the Swedish striker.


Abdisalam Ibrahim has been linked with dozens of clubs in recent months and you can add a few more to the list today.

The Daily Mirror reports that Premier League side Swansea along with Championship promotion chasers QPR and Reading are keen on the Norwegian midfielder.

22-year-old Ibrahim could leave for for around £250,000 training compensation, which would be a reasonable fee keeping in mind his City contract expires next summer.

Ibrahim is always positive about City on his Twitter account and would love the chance to make it at the club, but has played no part in the first team fold since returning from a loan deal and it looks like a move would be best for him.


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Another 22-year-old City midfielder is returning home from a loan deal.

Ghana international Mohammed Abu is set to return from Danish side AGF after a 3-month loan spell there.

The move, like most of Abu’s others to European clubs, doesn’t seem to have gone very well with the midfielder rarely in the AGF team.

19-year-old Dominic Oduro, another of City’s Ghanaian horde farmed out, is also on loan at AGF and has made 13 appearances this season.

What happens next with Abu isn’t clear. A few years ago he was seen as a big prospect for City, but all of his loan moves, except the ones to Strømsgodset in Norway, haven’t gone well.


City EDS midfielder Louis Hutton turned out for Leeds’ reserve team earlier today, making an appearance off the bench.

Hutton and George Swan, who is currently on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, were signed for an expensive compensation fee of £800,000 from Leeds in 2009 when they were just 14.

It was a controversial deal at the time with Leeds not wanting to lose the promising duo, but despite the expensive outlay neither look like they will break through at City.

According to Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Phil Hay, Hutton hasn’t been released by City but has been made available by the club.

The City Summary (November 21, 2013)

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Joe Hart looks set to remain on the bench when City host Tottenham this Sunday, despite an impressive performance for England against Germany on Tuesday.

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:

https://twitter.com/abi_bra/status/403210604057722880


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)

The City Weekend Summary (November 9 & 10, 2013)

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It has been a weekend to forget for City on the pitch after our latest “Groundhog Day” 1-0 defeat to Sunderland. Now comes the international break, two weeks for City fans to stew over yet another failure away from the comforts of Fortress Etihad.

After today’s loss a frustrated Pellegrini bemoaned City’s away form and struggled to understand how we didn’t win. Mancini often said similar things, but when is something going to be done about it?

“If you don’t win away, it’s hard to fight for the Premier League but I do not think we are playing bad so we must arrange and we must improve and I am absolutely sure that we are going to start to win.”

“The reaction is very similar to the other games we lost away in the way we lost this game.”

“Sunderland played really well defensively and I understand how they played but they had just one shot on our goal.”

“We had the possession and the chances but we didn’t score.”

Joleon Lescott’s successful stay at City is set to end soon, with his contract expiring next summer and the club unlikely to offer new terms.

According to the Mirror, Mark Hughes, who had Garry Cook shell out an eye-watering £22million to sign Lescott from Everton, is planning a January bid for the 31-year-old.

The Mirror reckons that City may consider letting the title-winning defender go for just £2million to avoid losing him for nothing next summer, but his £90,000-per-week wages could be the stumbling block with no Premier League club willing to give an aging defender this sort of financial package.

City’s defence is already struggling so selling one of its most experienced members for just £2million may not be worth it… unless, that is, City opt to splash out on a high quality centre-back in January, which is certainly a possibility.

Speaking of that possibility, the Sunday People claims that City are in the race for Benfica and Argentina defender Ezequiel Garay.

27-year-old Garay very nearly joined United in the summer, having been a major target for Alex Ferguson, but they changed their mind late in the day after Ferguson retired.

Garay is the third Portugal-based defender to be linked to City in recent weeks, along with Porto duo Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolás Otamendi.

JoeHart1
There was more Joe Hart furor in the Sunday papers. The Sunday People, a newspaper notorious for its unreliable transfer rumours, reckons that City plan to offload England’s number one, with Barcelona’s Victor Valdes and QPR’s Julio Cesar eyed as possible replacements.

Oddly enough though, the Daily Star has a very similar story, right down to the Valdes and Cesar links. This suggests they have been briefed by the same person (which doesn’t make it true – both papers have poor records with transfer rumours)… that, or the two journalists had a pint together last week and conjured up a fictional story. Time will tell…

Another story in the Daily Star on Sunday suggested that New York City FC, the MLS franchise owned by City and due to launch in 2015, could sign United defender Rio Ferdinand.

Ferdinand will pushing 37 by the time NYCFC launches and although he’d fit the bill of a high profile marquee player, will he even be playing football by then or boring us to death as a TV pundit?

Believe it or not, there are four City players who will be happy today, though you may not have heard of the majority. Norway U21 midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim, who has 3 appearances for City’s first team to his name, and Ghanaian trio Bismark Adjei-Boateng, Enock Kwakwa and Razak Nuhu have won the league! The Norwegian league that is, the four of them on loan at Strømsgodset in the Tippeligaen.

Strømsgodset sealed their first league title in 43 years with Ibrahim in the starting 11 and left-back Nuhu on the bench. Adjei-Boateng (19), who scored 7 goals in 17 matches from midfield, and Kwakwa (19) who has appeared just once in the league this season, played no part today but will no doubt be celebrating with the others.

The three Ghanaians were signed by City from the Right to Dream academy and farmed out to Norway as others have been. The most high profile of them, Mohammed Abu, has been loaned out repeatedly and is currently on loan at Danish club Aarhus following unsuccessful loan spells at Rayo Vallecano, Eintracht Frankfurt and Lorient.

Ibrahim, now 22, is due back at City soon and a decision on his future is likely to be made with his contract up in the summer.