The City Summary (January 20, 2014)

Stevan Jovetic and Jack Rodwell both trained normally today and are in the provisional squad to face West Ham at Upton Park tomorrow.

City are 6-0 up from the first leg and unless the most incredible of all “Typical City” moments occurs tomorrow, the Blues are heading to Wembley for the Capital One Cup final.

This gives Pellegrini the opportunity to rest whoever he wants as City’s non-stop fixture pile-up continues, and could mean starts or at least appearances off the bench for Jovetic and Rodwell.

Pellegrini hasn’t given any official update today on who might play or miss out tomorrow, but Marcos Lopes also trained with the first team today so could again be involved.

Micah Richards trained separately and is suffering some stiffness in a leg, nothing serious but the same problem that kept him out on Saturday.

With Sam Allardyce admitting West Ham will field pretty much a full strength team, Pellegrini may risk City’s incredible unbeaten streak of 17 games if he significantly weakens the team.

But with a 6-0 lead and huge games against Spurs and Chelsea on the horizon, it would be worthwhile gamble to keep some of our overworked players fresh.

Turkish news source NTV Spor released some (alleged) quotes today from Joleon Lescott where he (allegedly) said: “I want to play football and join Besiktas.”

Besiktas were the first team to be linked with Lescott in the January transfer window, but these quotes seemed out of character from a man who has been a perfect professional at City.

The Turkish media have a tendency to exaggerate or blatantly lie, as we saw when Kolo Toure was supposed to be leaving City for two or three Turkish sides, but didn’t.

So it’s no surprise that Lescott’s representatives have quickly come out and confirmed he never made those comments.

It isn’t out of the question that Lescott could still leave this month, but if he does it will most likely be to a Premier League side, with West Ham having already offered him a lucrative financial package if City sanction his departure.

Harry Bunn has ended his 13 year association with City by joining Huddersfield Town on a permanent basis.

The 21-year-old striker has been on loan at Huddersfield and playing for their U21 team, but he and City reached a mutual agreement to terminate his contract, allowing him to join the Championship side permanently until the end of the season.

Bunn, son of former City reserve team coach Frankie Bunn (who now works at Huddersfield with another ex-City coach Steve Eyre), was a very prolific goal scorer for City’s youth teams.

He hasn’t yet been able to reproduce his youth record at senior level during several loan moves, but has a long career ahead of him and we wish him the best of luck.

Inter Milan are keen on promising City defender Karim Rekik, according to Sky Italia transfer master Gianluca Di Marzio.

The Serie A club sent scouts to watch both Rekik and Memphis Depay play for PSV against Ajax yesterday, a game PSV narrowly lost 1-0.

19-year-old Rekik is one of City’s best youth prospects and is very highly regarded by City chiefs, particularly Patrick Vieira who said in 2012 it would be a failure if Rekik doesn’t make it at City.

Rekik has played well for PSV, despite the club struggling after a promising start to the season, and has even captained them.

He was called up for the Dutch senior national team last August, but an injury that required surgery deprived him of what could have been a first cap.

Despite Inter’s interest, City are unlikely to entertain offers for the Dutchman who has been with the club since he was 16.

Less than 24 hours after their narrow defeat to Real Madrid, City’s promising under-16 team was again in action today in the ALKASS International Cup against Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol.

City made wholesale changes again, with 14-year-old Brahim starting and setting up City’s first goal, scored by Joe Hardy.

In an eventful last 15 minutes, City won TWO penalties, the first of which was soft and saw Kashiwa’s goalkeeper sent off. Both penalties were scored by Ghanaian youngster Collins Tanor.

The match finished 3-0 to City and Barcelona’s win over Aspire Qatar sets up a mouthwatering match for 5th place on Wednesday between City and Barca. This is scheduled to kick off at 2:45pm GMT on Wednesday and will be streamed online.

If you missed our morning exclusive, City are on the trail of Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno, and could challenge Real Madrid for the 19-year-old starlet.

Click here for more details on that, including Roberto Martinez’s opinion on the Spain international.


The City Summary (November 28, 2013)

City icon Sergio Aguero makes no pretensions of being the world’s best player, but reckons he can at least be number two!

Sergio rates his close friend Lionel Messi as the world’s best player, but has nothing but love for a man he has been friends with since their teenage years.

Aguero, who also reckons Chelsea are City’s main competitors for the title this season, told BBC Match of the Day Magazine:

“Messi is a very important person to me.

“Lionel is the best footballer in the world, but to me we are friends first, always. We started playing together when we were just 17 years old.

“He was always going to be the best, always. He’s the number one and maybe I can be number two. Not yet though, I’m doing OK but I have to keep training hard and playing well.”

There has been the occasional rumour of Aguero joining Barcelona in recent months, but how about the two of them playing together for City some day? You never know…

Could Javi Garcia be on his way out of City? A couple of days ago, the reputable and reliable Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Italy reported that Garcia was one of several midfielders being considered by Serie A side Napoli.

This morning another Italian news agency Tuttosport claimed that Rafa Benitez is trying to block sporting director Riccardo Bigon’s £10m move to sign Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons, with the Napoli boss preferring his compatriot Garcia.

A third source, the TuttoNapoli site, later wrote there has been no contact, formal or informal, from Napoli for Garcia, the first reason to doubt Napoli’s alleged interest.

Garcia has struggled to adjust to the pace of English football, but could suit the slower paced and more tactical football of Serie A if there is anything to these reports.

Manchester City v CSKA Moscow - UEFA Champions League
Another player linked with a move to Italy today is left-back Aleksandar Kolarov. Kolarov has never hit the heights in England that he did at Lazio, and Juventus were interested in him last summer.

Gazzetta dello Sport reported today that Inter, now backed by the riches of Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir, could make a move for Kolarov, who captained City for the first time in the Champions League last night.

The main obstacle for Inter, supposing City actually agreed to sell Kolarov, would be his high wages, thought to be in the region of £90,000-per-week.

Serie A is in an era of austerity and these sort of wages are difficult even for a club like Inter, so a compromise would have to be reached.

Unless a high quality replacement can be found, City may not even be interested in selling Kolarov in January, especially with Clichy’s form having dipped so much this season.

Inter are also reported to be one of the clubs interested in signing Edin Dzeko from City, with the Bosnian likely to leave before the start of next season.

21-year-old City forward Harry Bunn, who endured a difficult loan spell at League one side Sheffield United and ended up in the reserve team, has joined Championship side Huddersfield Town for a month.

Harry’s dad and former City reserve team coach Frankie Bunn is part of Huddersfield’s youth setup, as is former City youth coach Steve Eyre who worked with Harry for over a decade before leaving the Blues a couple of years ago.

This will be a sixth loan move away from City for Bunn, who is out of contract next summer.

Bunn wasn’t the only City youngster on the move today as Football League clubs raced to snap up players before the loan window shut at 5pm.

City EDS defender Ellis Plummer, a regular in Patrick Vieira’s side, has made his first loan move away from City by joining League One side Oldham on loan.

19-year-old Plummer, a former England U16 and U17 international, who can play centre-back or full-back, moves to the Latics on an initial 5-week loan.

He is the second City player to join Oldham this season following Slovakian playmaker Albert Rusnak, whose loan move was terminated after not working out.

A third young City player could be on the move in January, the prolific John Guidetti.

The young Swede is in high demand despite only recently returning from a long injury.

If you missed our exclusive on him earlier, check it out for some information on where he could end up if City decide to loan him out.

Finally, have you ever seen anything like this? This is Roberto Soldado’s heat map for Spurs against City. He spent more time in the centre circle than in City’s box!

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The City Summary (November 21, 2013)

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:

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)