The City Summary (January 23, 2014)

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.

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).


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.

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…


The City Summary (November 6, 2013)

David Silva and Fernandinho are being assessed after picking up knocks in last night’s thrashing of CSKA Moscow. No exact recovery times are known yet and they will be monitored by club medics.

City will hope both are back in time for this Sunday’s game against Sunderland, the final fixture before a lengthy international break. City won’t be able to complain about fatigue after Sunderland fielded a near full strength side in their 2-1 Capital One Cup win over Southampton tonight.

Remember the Isco saga this summer? City seemed nailed on to sign the prodigious Spanish playmaker for a while before Real Madrid swooped in and snatched him, much to the dismay of his teacher Manuel Pellegrini.

Reports circulated shortly after he joined Real Madrid that the key to that deal had been a huge fee paid to his father, an amount that City refused to cough up. While that may have been true, the main reason seems to have been City’s unwillingness to meet his release clause and that was confirmed today.

Málaga general manager Vicente Casado revealed earlier that City had offered a significant amount less than Real Madrid, City chiefs feeling they could grab the 21-year-old on the cheap. That backfired and one of Europe’s most promising stars was lost.

While it would have been great to see Isco at City, the rejuvenation of both Silva and Nasri has helped make the Isco saga a distant memory already.

The Curious Case of Abdisalam Ibrahim continues with another story linking him away from City today. Every few weeks the 22-year-old Norwegian midfielder is linked with reputable clubs and the persistence of these stories (not to mention the comparisons to Vieira and Yaya) make one wonder if his representatives are drumming up interest.

There were reports some months back that City had released him, which proved untrue. Now there are reports that City could let him go for free in January with half a year left on his deal, which would seem illogical if he’s good enough to command any sort of transfer fee.

Many top flight clubs including Newcastle, Everton, Hull, Stuttgart, Fiorentina, and Lazio have been linked with him lately. Ibrahim was loaned to Dutch Eredivisie minnows NEC last year, but struggled for first team opportunities and was sent back to City, who then dispatched him back to Norway with partner club Strømsgodset.

After a good loan spell in the Norwegian league, he appears to be on the radar of many clubs. Yet despite these stories coming from somewhere, Ibrahim has contradicted them on his Twitter account and posted this just yesterday.

It’s hard to know whether Ibrahim has stepped up his game in the past year without watching the obscure Norwegian league, but he may have chance to impress Pellegrini in training when he returns to Manchester shortly.

One of City’s most impressive players at EDS/U21 level this season has been Jason Denayer. The former Anderlecht youth was snapped up from the Académie Jean-Marc Guillou after a successful trial and has been quite a revelation in the youth team.

Comparisons to his countryman Kompany are quite valid with the 19-year-old a powerful presence in defence but also classy on the ball and showing good technical ability.

Denayer also seems to be a very ambitious player and spoke of those ambitions to Bediables in Belgium (translated by Sky Sports):

“I have already trained a few times with the first team. It was a huge experience for me.

“Aguero, Nasri and David Silva are impressive players, but I learn the most from Vincent Kompany.

“He gives me good advice. This year I want to train more with the big boys, develop my skills and I also dream of some playing time, maybe in the cup or so.

“Next year I want to be a part of the first squad.”

City have stepped up their interest in 21-year-old Argentine goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli, according to Punto Pelota in Spain. City have previously been linked with the 6′ 2½” Estudiantes keeper, but are said to have intensified their pursuit of him in recent weeks.

Rulli, who it is thought would cost in the region of £5million, is very highly rated by scouts and is also attracting interest from Barcelona and Atlético Madrid.

Another emerging young talent linked with City tonight is FC Groningen forward Richairo Živković. According to the Daily Mirror, City are considering a move for the 17-year-old who has been compared to former Groningen star Arjen Robben.

The Dutch-Serbian teen has also been heavily linked to Liverpool recently and is one of several great young talents in Holland’s Eredivisie, another of whom, PSV’s Zakaria Bakkali, City have been monitoring closely.