Sunday, 22 June 2014


As promised recently – and STILL with no more news on the possibility of us signing either Eliaquim Mangala or Mehdi Benatia – I wanted to look at some possible / realistic options beyond these troublesome pair.

To recap…

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.

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.


With the exception of one player, I’ve tried to steer clear of central defenders that I’ve previously speculated about in a piece dated 16th March 2014. You can see earlier the list of names under the Brown-coloured, Central Defence section of this previous blog posting.

Not unrealistic / should seriously consider

I’ll start with the one previously mentioned, which is Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen. Established in the Premier League, quality defender, left-footed and already the partner of our Captain for his international team, Belgium. Huh…this guy ticks ALL the boxes! Want something else? He running into that period of a player’s contract where Clubs start to get twitchy; expiring, as it does, in just 24 months time.

So why aren’t we even hearing minor rumblings that City are, at least, glancing in that direction?

Well I’m sure all of the above won’t be lost either on tough-negotiator Daniel Levy and that being the case; I can well imagine that even with “just” 2 years remaining on his contract, Jan won’t come cheap. Additionally, Jan himself has recently stated that he is happy at Spurs and wants to stay.

However, I’m sure a word in his ear from Kompany might get his international colleague to at least consider the possibility and as for Mr Levy, wouldn’t his new Manager be interested in a player or two from City in a cash + swap deal? Micah and / or Javi on a permanent deal? Jack and / or John or a season-long loan with a ‘first refusal’ clause perhaps?

If Pellegrini wanted the 6’ 2’’ former Ajax centre back then I think Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain should do all they can to secure his services in time for this coming season.

How about a hijack? Want a crack a luring another left-footed, central defender with bags of Premier League experience? Then look just a few miles away from White Hart Lane and over to the Emirates Stadium; the home of ‘future unsure’ Thomas Vermaelen.

Okay, so his form appears to have dipped dramatically last season where he completed 90 minutes on just 7 occasions and played bit-parts in a mere, further 6 matches. Perhaps it’s time for a move then…

Again, the former Ajax man is a Belgium international team-mate of Vincent (what is it with Ajax and left-footed, central defenders from Belgium?) and so he would have everything going for him in order to re-capture his form.

A stumbling block might be the fact that Arsenal won’t want to be seen letting yet ANOTHER player slip from Wenger’s hands only for him to land on the doorstep of Manchester City. Manyoo have also been STRONLY linked with the player in recent days. However, as I say, if the Benatia & Mangala situations keep stumbling frustratingly on then hijacking LVG’s possible target should be considered in my opinion.

With only 1 year left on his current contract he’d be a far cheaper option than the French & Moroccan duo too.

We were first linked with Italian international Giorgio Chiellini under Roberto Mancini’s reign but, back then, the left-sided central defender (who started life as a left full-back and who has more-recently played in that position in some big games) had years to run on his contract. He would have proven very expensive a few years ago. Now, the Juventus player has only one year remaining on that current deal.

He can be a little hot-headed at times – not in the same league as Pepe though – but I’m sure our Father-figure, ‘Engineer’ would prove a calming influence on the passionate, experienced Italian. He will be 30 in August and so it wouldn’t be a long, LONG-term partner for our 28-year old Captain…but equally he wouldn’t be a very short-term signing either.

For a player who can play at left-back too and, who, is just approaching the middle of his prime years; I think City should give this one some serious consideration.

Anyone who gets to play 23 games for the uber-impressive German national side is deserved of consideration in my book. And in Benedikt Höwedes, Schalke 04 have a player who seems very comfortable with both feet (although his right is his strongest) and as well as centre back; Benedikt can play at either left or right back; even slotting in on the left side for his country on occasions.

Perhaps a little more expensive this one; he’s just 26 years of age and is contracted to the German side until June 2017. Something else that might ‘up’ his price considerably - and may even prove a stumbling block altogether - is the fact that one of Schalke’s other main, injury-prone (mostly knee trouble) centre halves, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, is out yet again with a dislocated shoulder, something which forced the Greek youngster to miss the World Cup.

However, Höwedes would be no more expensive that the trouble-sounding Porto & Roma pair and so why the ‘eck not?

Far less likely…but we shouldn’t rule it out

Don’t laugh at this suggestion (okay, Dortmund fans can) but how about sticking a (understandably) huge bid in for Mats Hummels? I said don’t laugh!

Like Thomas Vermaelen, Mats is another player who recently stated that he’s happy where he is AND has been linked, very recently, with a move to Manyoo. I say again not to laugh because if Manyoo have ANY chance of signing a top-class defender from Borussia Dortmund then we certainly do.

With us yet to sign a replacement for Costel Pantilimon and with Fernando still to ‘put pen to paper’; this signing certainly would challenge our Financial Fair play position. But we still have players yet to ‘move out‘ either permanently or on wage-reducing, season-long loans.

Premier League trophy winners 2013/2014
We certainly shouldn’t rule it out; we’re just about pulling our chair up to dine at the big boy’s table now and should trust that we now have the ‘pulling power’ to attract some of the very best around. After all, we are the current, English Premier League Champions and already have a lot of quality, highly-coveted players at our evolving, progressive football club.

League Cup trophy winners 2013/2014

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