The City Summary (January 26, 2014)

City today discovered that they will face Chelsea in the FA Cup 5th Round, one of two huge matches drawn out of the bag (the other being Arsenal vs. Liverpool).

The good news is that this will take place at Fortress Etihad, where City have been so strong this season.

The bad news is that it falls just before the Barcelona home game and City would ideally have liked to make wholesale changes, but if they do that now it risks an FA Cup exit.

The English powers-that-be have often been criticised for not helping out their teams in Europe, but will surely have to put this game on the Saturday (February 15), or else City will be playing Chelsea on Sunday (February 16) and Barcelona on Tuesday (February 18).

Chelsea have no European game that week, so don’t have that worry and will be able to field their strongest side no matter what.

Either way, this is a season of blockbuster games for City! And those on the FA Cup scheme are assured that tickets will be priced no more than £25 for the Chelsea game, as stipulated by the club.

Yaya Toure has admitted that he may quit international football after this year’s World Cup.

Yaya, who turns 31 in May, has been considering his international career for some time, especially after back-to-back African Cup of Nations tournaments in 2012 and 2013 meant City were without him for many important games.

The World Cup would be an ideal time for him to bow out and would mean he could skip the 2015 African Cup of Nations in Morocco.

Africa’s best footballer said:

“I will see what happens at the World Cup. It’s a very difficult decision and I want to do it at the right moment.

“I am thinking about it, but I haven’t decided when it will happen.

“I want to leave with a good name, in a good moment. The generation of players we have has always been regarded as something special, so we all want to give something good to remember.”

City are long-term admirers PSG and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi and according to Canal+ in France, have offered him a bumper £8m signing-on fee to snub PSG’s new contract offer and join the Blues on a free transfer next summer.

26-year-old Matuidi is an excellent holding midfielder who Carlo Ancelotti described as one of Europe’s best last season, and PSG’s president was recently adamant that he will sign a new deal.

It’s thought that some legal issues with his former agent are holding up the new contract and that City are using this time to try and convince him to swap Paris for Manchester, with wages of around £100,000-per-week said to be on offer.

Matuidi is very happy in Paris and it has been expected for a while now that he’ll stay, but City’s offer of a big signing-on fee, a good wage and playing in a superior league may tempt him.

City have dealt with his current agent, the notorious Mino Raiola, before, when signing and selling Mario Balotelli, and Txiki is reported to have been in dialogue with him.

Garcia has improved considerably lately, but City still rely too much on Yaya and Fernandinho, and the addition of a top level midfielder like Matuidi would give Pellegrini more options.

Another midfielder linked with City today is Benfica’s highly rated 20-year-old, André Gomes.

Benfica have just sold Gomes’ rights to super-agent Jorge Mendes for £12.5m, giving Mendes full power to sell the Portugal U21 international to another club this January.

A Bola names only City as a potential destination for Gomes, described as a technically excellent young prospect, while UK-based sources suggest he has been offered to Liverpool.

Gomes is not yet a regular for Benfica, playing mostly for their B team in Portugal’s Segunda Liga, and is a work in progress, so whoever signs him is likely to loan him out or put him into their reserve team.

City’s signing of Bruno Zuculini, another highly rated midfielder who will join in June, may limit their interest in a player of a similar age and position.

Two months ago I wrote an article on the FA Youth Cup winning side of 2007/08.

One of the stars of that team was Vladimir Weiss, who City staff and fans had huge hopes for. But at the age of 24, the Slovakian winger is becoming something of a journeyman and his latest move has left many startled.

Weiss has been a regular this season for Greek champions Olympiacos, who have just signed Abdisalam Ibrahim from City, even playing regularly in the Champions League and scoring a wonder goal against PSG.

Yet he has made the strange choice to join Qatari side Lekhwiya SC. No doubt the money will be good there, but at 24 surely he should be wanting to play in Europe and in the Champions League.



The City Summary (January 9, 2014)

Yaya Toure is the 2013 CAF African Footballer of the Year!

Yaya broke Nigeria’s dominance at this year’s award by being named Africa’s best player for the third year running.

Only Samuel Eto’o, during his prime, has managed to win CAF’s version of the award three times on the bounce before.

Last month, City’s midfield talisman was named BBC African Footballer of the Year for the first time, and has now completed the 2013 double header by winning the CAF award.

Not bad for a “liability”, eh Didi?

At the same awards ceremony, Kelechi Iheanacho was named Africa’s Most Promising Talent on the day his father revealed more information about his future.

Iheanacho, the star of the 2013 U17 World Cup, wore a blue jacket when he received an award that recognised an impressive year for the 17-year-old.

Earlier today, his father James told Sports Radio Brila FM in Nigeria that his son has a pre-contract with City and that will become an official contract when he turns 18 this October.

It also emerged today that Kelechi could be joined not only by team-mate Chidiebere Nwakali, but by the “Nigerian Neymar” Musa Yahaya. City are in the hunt for the 16-year-old and you can read more about that possible deal here.

Manuel Pellegrini is one of four nominees for the Barclays Manager of the Month award, after City went through December unbeaten. Pellegrini’s competition for the award are Jose Mourinho, Roberto Martinez and (try not to laugh) David Moyes.

Meanwhile, three of the six nominees for Barclays Player of the Month are City players. Along with Luis Suarez, Ross Barkley and Theo Walcott, City trio Yaya, Negredo and Kompany are in contention.

Pellegrini has a great chance of winning his first Manager of the Month award in England, but it’s hard to look past Suarez for Player of the Month after he managed 10 goals and 4 assists in Liverpool’s 7 games last month.

Just when you thought City couldn’t get any more dangerous in attack, this man edges closer and closer to his long awaited return…

City have made a £37m bid for Porto and France defender Eliaquim Mangala according to Le10Sport in France.

22-year-old Mangala has been scouted intensively by City for a long time with the player himself admitting the Blues had made a late effort to sign him during the summer.

While City’s interest in Mangala is definite, it’s very important to note that Le10Sport is not a great source and deals a lot in gossip. Think of it like you would the Daily Star.

Despite the unreliable source, a move for Mangala is possible, but would be very expensive. Not just City but Chelsea, United, PSG and Monaco have been linked regularly with the young defender.

City have rejected a loan offer from Inter for Stevan Jovetic according to Sky Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio.

Inter sporting director Marco Branca asked about Jovetic while in London, but was turned away by City chiefs who plan to use the 24-year-old if he can just get fit.

As we revealed today, Juventus are also keen on “Jo-Jo” and tried to sign him last summer, but Fiorentina preferred to deal with City than a domestic rival.

Jovetic has the ability to be a key player for City, but if it just doesn’t work out the possibility of using him to sign Arturo Vidal or Paul Pogba next summer could be tempting.

City and Arsenal have dispatched scouts to watch Celtic centre-back Virgil van Dijk according to the Scottish Express.

22-year-old Virgil van Dijk only joined Celtic in the summer for £1.6m from Groningen, but his form for the Scottish giants has boosted his value to around £10m.

Finally, here’s a great look at City’s season so far in graphic form from WhoScored.

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The City Summary (December 27, 2013)

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.

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 9, 2013)

Pellegrini has the unenviable task of deciding who to pick against Bayern Munich tomorrow night and gave little away at his press conference today.

With a huge match against Arsenal at weekend, Pellegrini could opt to rest some of his top stars with the only hope of winning Group D being a win by 3 goals (3-0, 4-1, 5-2) – and let’s be honest, the chances of this are slim against an incredible Bayern team enjoying a long unbeaten run.

Another view is that Arsenal will have to be near enough full strength against Napoli to ensure they win the group, and they play a day later than City – so City might be able to go full strength without suffering too much for it on Saturday.

Pellegrini confirmed that City will be without Jovetic, Nastasic and Clichy through injury tomorrow. The absence of Jovetic is a disappointment as it was thought he’d be back in time for this game, which would have been a great opportunity for him.

Yaya Toure also misses the game through suspension after picking up what looked to be a tactical yellow card against CSKA, ensuring he will be eligible for City’s last 16 game next year.

The good news is that David Silva is back and Pellegrini might want to give him minutes before unleashing him against Arsenal on Saturday.

Predicting the team tomorrow depends on just how much Pellegrini wants the win.

A 1-0/2-0 win or even a draw wouldn’t change anything, but would send a message that City can compete with the champions of Europe, while earning the club more bonus money and coefficient points.

But a defeat with a weakened team, assuming it wasn’t too embarrassing, could be considered a worthwhile sacrifice.

Four City players have been nominated for the prestigious FIFPro World XI, which will be announced on January 13 in Zurich.

Despite excellence from several City players in recent years, not one has made the final 11, with even Kompany missing out.

Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta are on the list of defenders, Yaya Toure on the list of midfielders, and Sergio Aguero on the list of forwards nominated.

There are 55 players nominated in all, so it won’t be an easy task for any City player to make the final cut, but we live in hope!

Speaking of Yaya, he has been at number 10 today, having been left behind by City as they jetted off to Germany. Yaya for PM!

Samir Nasri is set to be offered a new 2-year extension to his City contract in the New Year, according to Goal.

Nasri’s future was in doubt last summer after a disappointing season, but the arrival of Pellegrini has liberated the French playmaker, who has been one of City’s best performers this season.

According to Goal, the financial terms of Nasri’s contract, thought to be worth around £150,000-a-week, will remain the same, but the new deal will keep him at the Etihad until 2017.

City are responsible for some legendary transfer blunders over the years. Who can forget Lee “Badbuy” Bradbury, Barry Conlon, Matias Vuoso, Georgios Samaras, Roque Santa Cruz, Jô… ah, I could go on for a while.

But what about the players we haven’t bought when we had the chance?

A couple of summers ago City had the chance to sign the prodigious Paul Pogba after his United contract ended, a player now valued at £30m+ and who City have been linked with in recent months.

Roberto Mancini, now coach of Galatasaray, who face Pogba’s Juventus in a crucial Champions League tie tomorrow night, confirmed today that City could have had the young French midfielder:

“Two years ago we could have brought him to City on a free transfer. I can’t really remember why we decided not to.”

Can’t remember? OK.

After snubbing the chance to sign Pogba, then failing to land Daniele De Rossi and Javi Martinez in the same summer, the club signed Javi Garcia from Benfica for £16m.

Roberto Mancini

Thumbs up from Edin
The reputable Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Italia gave an update on Edin Dzeko’s future this afternoon.

The Bosnian, constantly linked with a move away, is happy to stay at the club until the end of the season according to Di Marzio, despite interest from Inter and Spurs.

Next summer, Dzeko will only have one year left on his City deal, putting him in a strong position to join his preferred club at a reduced fee. And, of course, also increasing the chances of the £110,000-a-week striker earning a nice signing-on fee at his next club.

Remember the “Bluemoon Black-out” games several years back when City turned the lights off before kick-off?

After surveying fans about the atmosphere, reviving this was one of the most popular ideas and the club plans to bring it back over Christmas.

With Liverpool on Boxing Day being the only kick-off in full darkness this month, that could be the day we see this again…

Yaya Toure vs. Rodney Marsh and the power of Twitter

Social media is a powerful tool and we saw a great example of that today on Twitter.

Former City star Rodney Marsh phoned into talkSPORT’s Extra Time to give some exclusive “insider” information on Yaya Toure’s situation at City. Rodney had this to say:

“People close to Manchester City tell me Yaya Toure is not very happy and he’s one of their great players.

“When you start to hear rumblings from within the camp, and you see the way Toure played last weekend [at Sunderland], when he was strolling around and didn’t look interested, I’m wondering now if it will all go a little bit the other way.

“It looks like they’re throwing billions of pounds at players but keep coming up short. I think this season could end in tears at Man City.”

After hearing this sort of thing from an ex-pro, fans would normally be very worried and wait for any sort of denial from the player or club. But Yaya, who has been very active and social on Twitter, quickly took to to the social networking service and put the story to bed, posting a photo of himself and Kolo with this message.

Naturally, this led to a lot of criticism from Blues (and others) aimed at Marsh. He has been known for his wind-up comments in the past, but being a former City star is often taken seriously. He quickly went on the defensive with this tirade:

Footballers often make comments on Twitter and leave it at that. Very few bother to keep up with their mentions and interactions, or at least don’t respond to them. Yaya, who as mentioned has been very social since joining Twitter, didn’t miss that final tweet, though, and put this issue to bed with the same finesse as one of his free kicks.

BURN! Good night Mr. Marsh, and please grow up – you’re 69-years-old and far too old for this sort of attention-seeking behaviour.

The City Summary (November 4, 2013)


Pellegrini confirmed at his pre-CSKA presser today that Kompany and Jovetić will miss tomorrow’s game against the Russians. He also revealed that “Jo-Jo” will be out for at least 3 weeks with the calf injury he picked up against Newcastle, but luckily a big chunk of that will be the international break.

Pellegrini was kind enough to inform the press that perennial third choice goalkeeper Richard Wright is also out with an injury, so at least the boss is thorough!

Negredo is fit and was taken off at half-time on Saturday because of the long shift he put in against Newcastle during the week. Garcia also looks to be fit again after missing the Norwich game.

Remember, if City win and Plzeň fail to beat Bayern, City are through to the knockouts with two games to spare!

City must not underestimate CSKA, who are on a run of two wins since their home defeat to the Blues. Doumbia has improved his fitness since that game, while former United winger Zoran Tošić has scored 5 goals in his last 3 games. Swedish midfield ace Rasmus Elm, who missed the reverse fixture, is also back from injury and appeared as a substitute on Saturday.

Possible teams for tomorrow’s game:

City: Pantilimon, Richards, Demichelis, Nastasić, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya, Nasri, Silva, Aguero, Negredo
CSKA: Akinfeev, Ignashevich, Berezutsky, Nababkin, Shchennikov, Wernbloom, Honda, Tosic, Milanov, Musa, Doumbia

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)

Ticket sales have been slow for the CSKA game with many still remaining tonight. Even with the discounted bundles, many City fans seem to feel the prices for non-glamour games in this competition are too high. Perhaps a pricing plan similar to last year’s FA Cup, where the Etihad was sold out for three games against lower league opposition, would be better for the less attractive Champions League games?

Yaya has called on City fans attending the game to show the traveling Russians just how welcoming Mancunian football fans are, following the racist abuse he suffered in Moscow.

CSKA have been expected to bring around 500 fans to Manchester, but you can knock a few off that number after several of their fans were arrested earlier. Around half a dozen CSKA fans became so unruly on an EasyJet flight that the plane made an emergency landing at Copenhagen airport.

Six were arrested according to the AFP, with three later released and three held in Danish custody.

Good luck to City’s stewards tomorrow.

The U19s also play their CSKA counterparts tomorrow in a top-of-the-table UEFA Youth League match. Both teams are on 7pts and while both look a safe bet to qualify for the knockouts the table toppers will avoid a fellow group winner in the next round. This game is free to attend at Hyde’s Ewen Fields and kicks off at 15:00 GMT.

There is little between these talented sides and the reverse fixture in Moscow finished 1-1.

City’s second match of 2014 has been rescheduled for TV. Newcastle vs. City in the Premier League will now take place on Sunday 12 January at 14:05 GMT, after being moved from the Saturday at the request of Sky Sports.

City will go into that game looking for their tenth win in a row over Newcastle. They must be sick of the sight of City!

A couple of tomorrow’s back pages cover Pellegrini’s comments earlier where he told CSKA fans to learn from their mistakes and stop the obscene racist abuse against players like Yaya. The City boss wants to leave this issue behind and for Russia to set a good example when they host the World Cup in 2018.

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The blog is one week old today and if you’re new to it, here are some of the articles we’ve posted so far.

Five Defenders on City’s Radar (29/10)
City – big announcement (30/10)
City chase Brahim, the young jewel of Spanish football (31/10)
Joe Hart can bounce back and Peter Shilton is living proof why (1/11)
Hart could quit in January (2/11)
David Silva’s brilliance in stats by @TypicalBlueMoon (3/11)
Edin Dzeko’s interview: Lost in Translation? (4/11)

The City Summary (October 30, 2013)

City are through to the Capital One Cup quarter finals after beating Newcastle 2-0 tonight at St James’ Park. It wasn’t a vintage performance by a City team featuring many fringe players and some who have had fitness problems. Both Jovetić and Micah, who have been plagued by injuries, were substituted off with new problems, though neither looked in major discomfort.

City could have been 2-0 down at half-time, but improved in the second half and after the match ended 0-0, took control in extra time. Dzeko had been sulky and anonymous in regular time, but came to life when he set up Negredo for the opener, then finished off a great move involving Silva (who made a big difference after coming on) and Milner to wrap it up.

Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Haidara (Dummett 45, Ben Arfa 81), Anita, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Sissoko, Tioté, Cissé, Shola Ameobi (Cabaye 67), Gouffran
Subs not used: Remy, Elliot, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi

Manchester City: Pantilimon, Richards (Zabaleta 83), Kolarov, Rodwell (Silva 64), Boyata, Lescott, Navas, García, Dzeko, Jovetić (Negredo 10), Milner
Subs not used: Hart, Nasri, Fernandinho, Demichelis
Goals: Negredo 99, Dzeko 105

Attendance: 33,846

City have the easiest quarter final draw on paper after drawing the only team outside of the Premier League, Leicester City. This could be tricky, though, as Leicester will be at home and could be in “cup final” mode like so many underdogs are against City. They are 2nd in the Championship and sent Fulham packing from the Capital One Cup yesterday, so Pellegrini will have to be careful not to underestimate them with his team selection.

It will also be a big day for Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel who will face the club whose academy gave him his start in football. Kasper made 10 first team appearances for City in all competitions before leaving for Notts County in 2009.

UEFA’s disciplinary body today dished out their punishment to CSKA Moscow after racist taunts from their fans were aimed at Yaya Toure. CSKA will have to played their next Champions League home game against Bayern with one section of the stadium closed.

CSKA rarely sell out the Arena Khimki and even against City there were thousands of empty seats, which begs the question: how exactly are CSKA being punished?

If they’re charged with racism a second time they will face a fine and a full stadium closure for one game. Only if it happens a third time may the punishment really start to hurt, with a points deduction or exclusion from European competitions then considered.

City worked hard to get CSKA punished for the obscene monkey chants aimed at Yaya, but received very little help from people in Russia…

City are keeping tabs on Galatasaray and Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera (27) according to with the player admitting his childhood dream was to play in the Premier League. Galatasaray president Ünal Aysal admitted that they could accept a high offer for a goalkeeper who has kept 32 clean sheets in 80 appearances for the Turkish giants.

Muslera is an impressive goalkeeper and his club value him in the region of £20million so he wouldn’t come cheap if City decided to raid the club now coached by Roberto Mancini. Expect him to be one of many keepers linked with City, though, if Joe Hart’s form doesn’t improve.

City have welcomed Swedish twins Jacob & Marcus Ejerblad, both 14, to Manchester for a trial. The teens from Sunnersta AIF will train with the U15s and could turn out against Newcastle this weekend. Jacob, a central defender, and Marcus, a midfielder, told the Swedish press that they are excited to have such an opportunity.

It wasn’t so long ago that City had twins from nearby Norway, Tom and Kim Skogsrud. Those two didn’t make the grade at City and moved to Rangers in Scotland before heading home to Norwegian second division side Sandefjord Fotball.

City are again on the back pages tomorrow, but Joe Hart has mercifully been given the day off. And rare as it may be, the Daily Star are spot on.


If you missed it earlier, we posted an exclusive teaser of City’s financial report that is due before the end of the year. Ferran Soriano and Tom Glick are doing an outstanding job on the financial side and expect City to break into the world’s top five money-making clubs soon.

Those “sugar daddy” jibes will soon become obsolete with City on course to become a self-sustaining juggernaut in the coming years.