Thursday, 12 June 2014

Almost a week away on holiday and…nothing.

With limited access to the Internet I’ve kept on checking, as best I can, for ‘City updates’. Each ‘n’ every time I did I wondered why I’d bothered.


“Oh it’s all gone quiet over here…”


We’ve still not signed Fernando from Porto. First of all it was supposed to have been completed at the back-end of last week and now the back end of this. But as we rapidly approach the weekend on World Cup ‘Day 1’, latest reports suggest that Porto haven’t even given the defensive midfielder permission to leave – that’s despite us agreeing a fee! Together with and following the January negotiations, the Portuguese outfit really are a strange bunch to deal with. £12.2M was the latest fee I’d heard…with ‘add ons’ depending on future success.

Sagna still hasn’t signed either but, apparently, that’s just a technicality; his contract doesn’t actually finish with Arsenal until a certain, undisclosed date in June.

Then we have the two ‘wouldn’t touch with a bargepole’ central defenders. Not for their undoubted abilities on the field but for their apparent attitudes off it.

Benatia sounds like trouble. ‘Modern-day footballer’ an’ all that taken into account; it still disgusts me how much he appeared to first push for a wage increase / improved contract and then a ‘move away’ from Roma just 1 year into a 5-year deal.

Praise was heaped on the 27-year old Moroccan last season in Serie A and I can’t help feeling as though it’s all gone to his head. His price tag also appears to be creeping up by the day too. Steer clear would be my advice.

Then there’s the gobby Eliaquim Mangala. The French international, Porto central defender seems to be doing all he can NOT to join his inbound colleague at the Etihad Stadium. First it was that he prefers London to Manchester and now he prefers Manyoo to City. Huh…perhaps he’s heard the thing about where most Manyoo fans ‘hail from’ and is getting all confused…

Of course these comments might not be from the player himself (although the London thing did have quotation marks on them in every publication that I read); perhaps it’s some other interested-party / agitator. Either way, our ‘early business’ for a partner for Vinny doesn’t seems to be getting anywhere with this troublesome pair and so I think we need to be moving on and looking elsewhere soon.

I’m not going to do a long piece just yet about possible alternatives but I will do when I get back in front of a ‘normal’ PC. However, I will make brief comment on the recent link, once again, with Pepe of Real Madrid.

We’ve been linked with him in the last 4 transfer windows and so, with complications continuing with the afore mentioned two; unsurprisingly this one has reared its head once again. Reports suggest that Pepe is going to struggle to dislodge Real’s main central defensive duo and an eventual move would seem quite likely; if not in the summer then perhaps some time in 2015.

When first linked with him 24 or so months ago, for me he also fell into the ‘no thank you very much’ category. This time, however, it WAS for issues on the pitch. Putting it bluntly he was a nutter – and a very nasty one too. He wouldn’t have lasted long in the Premier League in my opinion; he’d have been wound-up by the opposition far too easily and would (probably) have snapped so many times; he’d have spent 1/3 of his time with us sat in the Colin Bell Stand serving ban after extended ban.

I’ve been speaking with a couple of Real fans in recent weeks and made a point of asking one of them about Pepe. Like Angel Di Maria they are adamant that the Portuguese defender is going nowhere; clearly they hold both players in very high regard and don’t want to see either of them leave their beloved ‘Whites’. But of Pepe, he assured me that he has calmed down considerably in the last 2 years – perhaps turning 30 did something to him [in a positive way]…

But AT 31 are we interested in him anymore? I’m not suggesting for one moment that 31 is ‘past it’; a quality player [at that age] has 3 years left in him at least in my opinion. But aren’t we looking for a longer-term partner for our Captain? The answer is “Yes” and so I think we can finally put all talk of Pepe to bed now.

However, we need to bring in a quality central defender and we need to move before all the good’ns get ‘snapped up’. Demichelis grew in stature and his quality shone through as he gained more and more Premier League game-time last season. And in Nastasic, I’m still very hopeful that he’ll have a long and very fruitful time at Manchester City.

But you’d have to be blind not to see this as an area that needs some serious quality injection and I’ll make some efforts soon to look at some viable alternatives to the Porto & Roma weirdos.

The Di Maria link doesn’t seem to be going away either. Although most City fans would, quite rightly, point out that an additional, left-sided, creative player should NOT be high on our priority list, regular readers will know that, once we HAVE bolstered the defence and ‘beefed up’ the midfield; an additional, attacking / creative option would help to take us to ‘the next level’.

Arsenal are another team constantly bring linked with the Argentinean winger and I think it’s only a matter of time before we see his skills in the Premier League. I like him…and if Pellegrini wants him perhaps Zaba and Aguero can convince their international colleague…


Yaya’s going nowhere! That’s according to his dad, apparently.

‘A good clip round the ear is what he’ll get if he starts that sort of shenanigans ever again’.

Okay, his dad didn’t say that exactly. But pointing out that, “...he’s a boy” and, therefore, likes to ‘sound off’ whenever he’s disgruntled about something; his father was suggesting that ‘cake gate’ was something ‘n’ nothing.

Could I suggest that his dad gives Yaya’s agent a ‘thick ear’ though..?

Richards could be on the move and West Ham United could be one, possible destination. There has been some suggestion in recent days that we have offered him a new contract; those same sources have akso intimated that he has turned down our offer. If so I can fully understand it – with Sagna SUPPOSEDLY joining us we’d have 2 crackin’ right-backs at the club…and I don’t think our manager sees Micah as a suitable, centre-half alternative.

To be honest, with his injury record I’d be surprised if we HAVE offered him a new deal – it would only-surely be for ‘home-grown’, squad reasons…and that wouldn’t seem fair on him nor any EDS players waiting to ‘step up’...

Nothing’s been said but I’d be surprised if Jack Rodwell was still with us come ‘kick off’; certainly when (if) Fernando makes the move from Porto. And that, of course, is with the ‘home grown’ rule in mind. Similar – but even worse than – the Micah issues; he’s just too darn injury prone!

Similarly, I’d have to say, Javi Garcia. For all his…improvement last season; surely there’s hardly a place for him in next season’s squad. With us looking to get another central defender – and along with Vinny, Demichelis, Nastasic and new-contract-boys Dedryk Boyata & Karim Rekik – I can’t see him getting many games there. And with ‘the two ferds’ vying for that central defensive slot what are his chances there? Again, there are no rumours of him moving out though.

Emyr Huws seems to be getting a lot of attention and it looks highly likely that he’ll get his first crack at a season in the Premier League on loan for a season. Along with newly promoted Burnley and Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Swansea City also seem keen on the young, Welsh midfielder; who “enjoyed” a successful time at struggling - and last-minute-survivors - Birmingham City in the Championship.

Not going

I’m taking all talk of Stevan Jovetic leaving in the summer as utter balderdash! A player of his obvious quality is ALWAYS going to be linked with a move away whenever he doesn’t get too many games [for whatever reason].

Contrastingly, I see the Montenegrin playing a very important part in next season’s endeavours. Furthermore, if he gets an injury-free, full pre-season behind him; I can see Jovetic being used in a Nasri-type role down the left or even a Silva, ‘behind the striker’ position with far more frequency than last season. No need, therefore, for a Di Maria-type purchase…

Similarly, Negredo - I know he lost form terribly after his shoulder injury in the League Cup, 2nd leg at Upton Park…and with Edin Dzeko then ‘stepping up to the plate’ as he mostly did; ‘The Beast’ went from hero to spectator in the latter months.

But with the shadow of ‘financial (not-so) fair play’ ever present these days; why on earth would we want to sell an already-Premier-League-proven-striker when all we’d (surely) have to do then is find a replacement? Nope, any rumours about the Spaniard leaving I’m also confining to the rubbish bin…unless we do first stick a concrete bid in for another forward in the coming weeks.

Alek Kolarov and Joe Hart, two players rumoured to be moving on in the summer, would appear to be going nowhere either. I didn’t believe for a second that ‘our Joe’ would be moving out and it would appear both of these players will be getting new, extended contracts along with Samir Nasri and one or two others (Yaya’s underlying ‘beef’ apparently…)

I’m very pleased for Joe and for Samir but, I have to say, not so pleased that it looks like we’re not in the market for a quality left-back to compete with Gael Clichy. Although I had given up hope of us signing Sevilla’s Spanish left-back, Alberto Morenoa player whom we had first refusal on by all accounts – I’m still keeping close tabs on the situation.

Although with us not activating the ‘first refusal agreement’ with the Spanish side it suggests that we’re not interested in him, Sevilla do appear to be now playing silly buggers with Liverpool about the way they want to receive the payments from the Merseysiders.

It’s gone flat in the last few days and I just wonder whether we’ve quietly intervened there and have muddied the waters a little…

Not-so new news…

As much as I’m loving my very relaxing holiday away, I do feel a little Manchester City starved of news. Having said that I’m getting enough Internet, radio, television and newspaper coverage to be kept as ‘in the loop’ as everyone else…

But when I saw the a headline about UEFA reducing sanctions against us in next season’s Champions League it looked like there had been some PROPER Blues News to read about! Sadly, no; it was just confirmation of what we expected from European football’s governing body. Only having to feature 5 home-grown players instead of 8 following the sanction-reduction from 24 to 21 squad players is NOT new news…but was being pitched by many as though it was.

What WAS new came from the club itself, which confirmed that all available season cards had been snapped up for next season. You can now only put your name down on a waiting list for season cards and, come 21st July, apply to be a CityZens member, which allows you to purchase individual tickets and get other club benefits.

World Cup

So it starts tonight – the hosts Brazil vs Croatia. I’m sort of getting excited now; it’s taken me a while though. 9:00pm kick-off time [in the UK] and I'd like to watch it today.

And I am looking forward to the England / Italy game of course…but am still trying to work out how to ‘play it’.

We return from holiday early Saturday afternoon and so I'm thinking...

1. Try to stay awake throughout the day and don't touch the beer until about 10:00pm.

2. Or, more likely, fall (or force myself to go) asleep about 7:30pm and set the alarm for 10:00pm - shower, England flag out, crack the beer open and completely write-off Sunday; having gone to bed at 3:00am.


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