The City Summary (January 20, 2014)

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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.


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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.

EXCLUSIVE – City have Lescott deadline

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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.

The City Summary (January 7, 2014)

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City will be without Aguero, Jovetic, Rodwell, Richards and Navas for tomorrow’s semi final first leg against West Ham. The new name on that list is Navas, but thankfully it’s just a minor knock and his absence is a precaution.

Richards is now fit again according to Pellegrini, but “needs to work more” so won’t be involved. The good news is that Martin Demichelis is back in the squad and available tomorrow after a spell on the sidelines. City now have four central defenders to choose from again, with Kompany, Demichelis, Nastasic and Lescott all fit.

As City fans continue to ask #WheresJovetic, Pellegrini again said today that the 24-year-old will be back in January… but wouldn’t commit to an exact date. The mystery continues…

Pellegrini also further spoke more of Aguero’s progress, saying the Argentine now back in training and isn’t far off a return. As we revealed yesterday, there is a chance he could play some part in the replay against Blackburn.

Marcos Lopes will again be part of the squad after being named a substitute against Blackburn. The prodigious 18-year-old is pushing for first team football despite his young age and the fierce competition in City’s attacking ranks, showing just how highly regarded he is at City.

Expect City to field a pretty strong team tomorrow, especially with our next game coming on Sunday (meaning an extra day of rest). It has been a long time since the players have been able to have any sort of extended rest, but City are close to another cup final and with West Ham also hit by injuries there is a chance to build a big lead in tomorrow’s first leg.

Possible City team vs. West Ham: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Kompany, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya, Milner, Silva, Nasri, Negredo


Pellegrini was again quizzed about City’s transfer activity in the January window.

He has been coy when questioned, but admitted today that City could do some business, while stressing there was no urgency to close any deals.

The City boss said: “We are looking at two or three things, but it’s not important right now.”


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The Kelechi Iheanacho saga could finally be set to end. The deal was done, then off, then maybe back on… and now appears to be all but complete, despite strong interest from across Europe.

Mundo Deportivo in Spain reported today that the 17-year-old Nigerian is in Barcelona (photo of him there above) after City chiefs Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain had him flown there while City work on getting him a UK visa.

Soriano and Txiki are said to have used their contacts to get Kelechi and his father James to Barcelona, even involving Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, José García-Margallo. Now that’s influence!

Indications are that City want a work permit for him now so that they can get him involved immediately, rather than having to farm him out for a while.

Should the transfer be confirmed, Iheanacho will be the latest high-level youth prospect to join City, following recent recruits Brahim Abdelkader Diaz, Zacharias Faour and Kjetil Haug. Iheanacho’s U17 World Cup winning team-mate Chidiebere Nwakali is also set to join City, according to reports.

City will have some of the world’s best young talent to join some very gifted young local lads in the groundbreaking new City Football Academy, which opens this year at the Etihad Campus.


Fulham are the latest club to register an interest in Joleon Lescott, according to the Daily Mirror, while talkSPORT reports Aston Villa have also joined the chase for the 31-year-old.

Lescott is wanted by numerous other clubs and West Ham have made a lucrative offer to the 31-year-old.

City have the final say on Lescott’s future. With Pellegrini admitting City are looking at a few players, if one of them is a defender and signed, that could free up Lescott to move.


City EDS defender Ellis Plummer has returned to City after a disappointing loan spell at League One side Oldham Athletic.

19-year-old Plummer, a former England U16 and U17 international, was said to have been very poor in his performances for the Latics and ended up on the subs bench.

His loan move to Oldham becomes the second to end in disappointment this season, after Albert Rusnak struggled to settle there.

City and Oldham have a good relationship so expect more loan deals to happen, despite several failures.

Italian duo Luca Scapuzzi and Andreas Mancini also failed to impress on loan there from City in the 2011/12 season, but Reece Wabara’s spell at Boundary Park last season was a big success.

EXCLUSIVE – Hammers offer Lescott a dream deal

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Reports have been circulating the last 24 hours that West Ham United are ready to turn to Lescott to try and stop the rot.

We have an excellent contact who has been able to confirm the interest is indeed correct and the lengths they are willing to go to to entice the player.

Owner David Sullivan has personally intervened to guarantee Lescott’s £90,000 a week wages until the end of the season – making him the club’s top earner alongside crock striker Andy Carroll.

But the incentive package does not stop there.

The Hammers will agree to pay an additional £1.5m bonus if he helps to keep the club in the Premier League and agrees to sign for the club permanently this summer.

A further three-year agreement of £50,000 a week wages has turned Lescott’s head even further.

City were intent on keeping the defender until the end of his contract but are now willing to do business as long as we are able to recruit a replacement, with no need to subsidise Lescott’s wage.

 

 

The City Summary (January 3, 2014)

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City enter the FA Cup at lunchtime tomorrow with a third round clash against Blackburn at Ewood Park, a ground with some great memories for Blues. Around 7,000 City fans will make the trip tomorrow, barely less than the expected turnout of home fans.

Pellegrini has warned against complacency against a Championship club that has fallen on hard times, but will make changes with this one of the few upcoming fixtures where he can rest key players.

The continuing absence of squad players, though, means he probably can’t rest as many as he’d like. In addition to Aguero, whose recovery continues, Pellegrini is without Micah, Rodwell, Jovetic and Demichelis tomorrow.

Rodwell is the old new old new name on the list, with Pellegrini saying he has a “small problem with his hamstring”. He didn’t clarify whether the midfielder suffered that in training or during his 6 minute cameo against Swansea. We live in hope that Jack can finally overcome these injuries soon, but for now they continue.

Possible City starting XI vs. Blackburn: Pantilimon, Boyata, Nastasic, Lescott, Clichy, Garcia, Fernandinho, Milner, Silva, Lopes, Dzeko


The Joleon Lescott saga could drag until the end of the transfer window, with more conflicting reports about his future.

The official stance from Pellegrini is that City want to hold on to the England defender, who the manager described as “very useful”, until the end of his contract in June.

Pellegrini did admit that circumstances could change in the transfer window, with a host of clubs keen on him including Turkish side Besiktas, who have confirmed their interest.

Some reports reckon that Lescott is happy to stay at City, while others claim he would like to leave to boost his chances of making England’s World Cup squad.

Spurs boss Tim Sherwood today denied that Spurs have made an approach for the 31-year-old.


Another talking point at Pellegrini’s presser today was John Guidetti.

Pellegrini said that the Swede wasn’t involved at Swansea because of a small injury to his knee, but admitted that a loan move is the best option for him to build himself back up after 18 months out of the game.

Today’s Daily Mail speculated that he is close to joining Mark Hughes’ Stoke on loan, but that is just one of many possible destinations for the young striker.


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Aleksander Kolarov reckons more game time is the reason for his improvement this season. The Serb has mostly been City’s number two left-back since Gael Clichy arrived, but has started 17 games this season, more than Clichy.

Kolarov, who has 3 goals and 3 assists so far this season, told the press:

“I am focused on working hard to improve every day.

“I am the same player I was last season and two or three seasons ago. I just didn’t play every game.

“I would play one game and then not play for two or three games. That made it difficult for me to find good form.

“Now I’m playing more often and I’m showing what I can do.”


Marcos Lopes may have a chance of being involved tomorrow and took to Twitter earlier to dispel rumours that his contract is up this year.

Unknown to just about everyone outside the club, the 18-year-old renewed his deal last summer and is here for the long haul.


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With the arrival of 2014, Swedish teen sensation Zacharias Faour has officially completed his move to City from Malmo FF.

Faour is said to be an enormous talent and has (unsurprisingly) been compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The 15-year-old told Fotbollskanalen:

“City is a great club with the best players in all age groups. I feel this is a perfect step for me to develop as a player.

“My whole family is moving [to Manchester] with me, which means a lot and is reassuring.

“I don’t really know how big the club’s expectations are for me, but they have said they believe in me. They want to build a team that is the best in the world and it’s great that I’ll be a part of this.”

Faour will play for the U18 (academy league) and U19 (UEFA Youth League) teams.


A member of Nigeria’s U17 World Cup winning side seems to get a mention in every City Summary, and here we go again…

According to reports from Nigeria, Chidiebere Nwakali has flown into England with his mother and brother to complete a move to City.

The versatile 17-year-old, who can play in several positions, will earn £300,000 in wages, fees and addons from the day he turns 18 on December 26.

With the usual work permit issues that accompany young signings from Africa, he is likely to be farmed out to Right to Dream in Ghana or one of City’s partner clubs in Europe.

Still no further updates on Kelechi Iheanacho after reports that the deal for him to join City was back on days ago.


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According to Ghanasoccernet, City are yet to find a new club for 22-year-old midfielder Mohammed Abu after a string of disappointing loan spells.

His latest loan move to AGF Aarhus in Denmark was a disaster, with Abu, capped 4 times by Ghana, getting no game time largely due to injuries.

There was contact with clubs from the Swiss Super League in November, but no formal offer was made for his services.

Abu’s only success at club level since City signed him from Right to Dream has been with Strømsgodset in Norway, and a move back there could be an option.

Abu’s contract is due to expire in June and unless he leaves on a permanent deal this month, chances are City will release him with it becoming clear he won’t make it at the club.

EXCLUSIVE – Lescott due £2m pay-off

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Under the terms of Joleon’s contract, he is owed £2.1m in wages by City until June 1st.

City are happy to allow the player to negotiate with Turkish side Besiktas, and others, during this window, and WILL seek a top-level replacement if a sale is eventually concluded.

Joleon is more than happy to stay put until the end of the season. His handlers, however, feel he can still break back into the England World Cup reckoning with a high-profile move now.

City are of the mind that any buying club should pick up the majority of his severance package if they want him right away, and incorporate it in his signing-on fee.

Besiktas have made an initial offer of £40,000 a week and we could hear something later today from their president.

Joleon was always overpriced at £24m and it’s fair to say his ball control is the one facet of his game which has left him exposed.

But he has been a loyal servant and has never rocked the boat like some other big-money cast-offs.

Lescott’s agents are hoping they can reach a compromise deal with both City and Besiktas where they pay £1m each to settle the existing wages due to him, and waiver a transfer fee.

Good luck whatever the outcome.

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.