Sunday, 29 June 2014

Blue bits and other ‘snips’…

It’s been an eventful week and I’ve barley had the time to ‘put pen to paper’. Here’s an overview...


So Fernando has finally completed his move. It seemed to run on for ever that one; especially considering we were close / not-so close to bringing him to the Etihad in January.

That’s the defensive midfield area is well ‘n’ truly covered now and I like what I’ve seen of him (okay, yeah, on YouTube); he’s energetic and an excellent tackler. I’ve said this before though; he does seem to like to take the ball 2-footed at times and so, in the Premier League, he’ll have to watch that a little.

I like the sound of him too; he’s certainly saying all the right things…unlike his ex-colleague Eliaquim Mangala.

Fernando, Fernandinho, Javi Garcia and James Milner in my humble opinion - as I say, that position is WELL ‘n’ truly covered! Presumably Jack Rodwell will go out on loan at the very least. W.B.A. appear to be one interested party; possibly reuniting Jack with Joleon Lescott who returned to his native Midlands in a 2-year deal the other week.

A quick word on Fernandinho. If you’ve not watched them yet then there’s a series of very good videos on City’s WEB site about our Brazilian midfielder. What a (still) very humble man from a humble background. Very refreshing these days.

Almost signed

We’re about to increase our Argentinean contingent by one this week with the signing of central midfielder Bruno Zuculini. We were first linked with the 21-year old in 2013 and have followed through our interest with a £1.5M purchase; an agreement during our long-term negotiations for a player who will be out of contract as he makes the switch.

Bruno - Looking a bit like Jason Bourne here...

I know this gets said a lot about players these days but I read a lot in 2013 and in the last week about how Barcelona, Manyoo and others were very interested in the Racing Club player. Seems to be a bit of an all-rounder - gets stuck in and ‘mixes it up’ and has a (good) habit of finishing off moves with a few goals too.

At 21 you’d think he’d have a chance of making a first-team-appearance at some stage this season – perhaps we’ll see him take some part in a League Cup home game for starters.

‘Sort of’ signed…

Right-back Chidiebere Nwakali and right-sided / centre forward Kelechi Iheanacho have signed pre-contract agreements with Manchester City and will be travelling with us to the USA for our pre-season tour. Not sure whether they’ll ‘have to impress’ on the tour in order to get permanent contracts or whether the ‘PRE’ thing is an age / permit situation. Either way – and similar to Fernando AND Bruno – we’ve been tracking these two 17-year olds for some time now; first hearing their names connected with City about 12 months ago.

These 4 signings will produce an average age of just 20 ¼.

Still no closer

Our search for a central defender goes on and as Mangala’s name gets mentioned more and more, Benatia’s name is fading into the background. With the negative comments from the Moroccan about his club, Roma, ‘no move’ in the summer could prove awkward for the defender. Roma fans don’t appear, to me, to be a very forgiving lot…

Regarding Mangala; we have, apparently, ‘agreed a fee’. But unlike Fernandos’ obvious enthusiasm to join us the French defender appears far less-so. I’ve said it all before and I still think we should look elsewhere if this guy is going to be trouble.

If we do end up signing the Porto player I’ll certainly be looking very closely into his eyes as he gives his first few Club interviews…

Moving out

Marcos Lopes has moved to Lille for a full season. I’m a little bit surprised with this one; I did expect to be seeing Marcos in the first team a little more this season. In fact I expected the 18-year old, attacking midfielder to be a first choice in the League Cup and perhaps even a strong bench contender in the F.A. competition too.

But I suppose moving to a Champions League team and playing full time in the French League is a step up from the NextGen Series. Hope we get an improved player back for the 2015/2016 season.

Scott Sinclair has been linked with a move back to Swansea City.

Micah Richards appears to be in limbo. Liverpool appear to have ‘backed off’ and there’s been no further mention of a contract extension at City. If a new Manchester City offer isn’t forthcoming I can’t imagine Micah not finding a new Premier League home very soon. He’ll go with a heavy heart, I’m sure, and will leave a lot of Blues sad too.

Wherever he ends up for the 2014/2015 season and beyond I hope his injuries clear up and that he can fulfil his true potential. I can’t believe he’s still only 26!

NOT going anywhere

‘Rubbished’ have the rumours been about Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo leaving in the summer – MCFC have given clear ‘hands off’ for both players. And quite flippin’ rightly so, too!

And I said those word BEFORE the latest - and quite worrying - thigh injury to Sergio Aguero. It’s probably just press scare-mongering of course - and is surely WAY too early to be saying such things - but the latest, “reports”, are that he’ll not only miss the remainder of the World Cup but also the start of the English season.

If he is out of the Brazil competition then we need to try to do all we can to influence him-getting on his summer vacation as soon as; get him BACK at City pronto and get some specialists working with him to try to ‘crack’ whatever the underlying issue is with this troublesome and re-occurring thigh problem.

Speaking of injury-prone, Vincent Kompany has also broken down in the World Cup. Although don’t yet know (as I’m typing this) the severity of Vinny’s injury, it should come as no surprise to hear that, yep…it’s his groin again.

Although, with an additional centre-half signing, will we have ‘the numbers’ required in that positions for a full campaign in 4 competitions?

Assuming ‘our skip’ will be out for 1/3 of the season as is usual; will we have enough with just ONE addition to the centre of our defence…with Matija Nastasic (injured for most of last season), Karim Rekik (untried in the Prem), Dedryck Boyata (looked vulnerable when played at right back last season) and the aging Martin Demichelis?

Yeah we’re told that Bacary Sagna CAN play (and has played) there if required but, I wonder…


And so, perhaps not too surprisingly, Luis Suarez is wrapped up in very familiar controversy once again. Did he not ‘teeth’ as a baby or something; is he now getting all of his childhood ‘bite frustrations’ out?

I think the 4-month ban – and an ‘any football ground’ ban – is just about ‘spot on’ (well-done FIFA) and I’m completely ‘blown away’ by Uruguay’s reaction to it; both the national team officials and the footballing nation as a whole.

There’s blind loyalty for a player…and then there’s just plain blind!

If they are serious – and I take it they are – when they say that it’s the English-speaking press who have blown it all out of proportion and that the incident wasn’t nearly as bad as it’s being made out; then they are one, screwy lot!

For the 3rd, flippin’ time the guy has aggressively and clearly-intentionally bit another person! How much more clearly ‘wrong’ do you want it to be?!

Anyway, it’s great news for the Premier League title chasing pack – cup games included, ‘Count Suarez’ will be missing for the first 13 games domestically.

The re-build has begun…

I’ll have to mention ‘them’ – sorry.

Manyoo have started to ‘splash the cash’ this week. For around £60M they’ve purchased a 23-year old, Spanish midfielder with no first-team, international caps and for a whoppin’ £31.5M have purchased an 18-year old left-back who’s had one good season in the Premier League with Southampton. £140M (apparently) to go…

Hang on a minute! Weren’t WE ruining football by spending lots and lots of cash and can I just ask, does FFP not count in Stretford baring in mind also that they’ve lost MILLIONS by not being in any European competitions and are a football club already riddled in debt?


Huh…Mancheater Us***ed are back!

New season, new kits…

No, I’m sorry, I don’t have an exclusive peep at City’s - no-doubt, soon-to-be - home, away, 3rd and also, quite possibly, 'Champions League only' kits. I’d just thought I’d mention that they’ll be released some time very soon I’m sure.

For now, I’ll just include pictures of the ones ‘doing the rounds’ on the T’interWEB:

Quite nice...
Horrible! Looks like a poor Arsenal 2nd/3rd-choice top.

FURTHER expansion!

News broke this week that in addition to the first of the 6,000-seat end expansion at the Etihad Stadium, City are also planning to expand the stadium further by adding an extra 3 rows to the ground, pitch-side level. I’m assuming here that this will be to all four stands but whatever the detail, Manchester City are stating that the additional 3 rows together with the introduction of a 3rd tier to the South Stand will take the capacity of the Etihad to 55,000 in time for the start of the 2015/2016 season.

The completion to the North / Family Stand of the next phase, in time for the start of the 2017/2018 season, will see the capacity grow even further; to around 61,000 and will make the Etihad Stadium the second largest (as stadiums stand now), domestic ground in England; surpassing the new, West Ham United, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium by 7,000 and creeping past Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium by a mere 568 seats.

Scotland trip

Already in place for a pre-season match was a trip to Dens Park to face Dundee FC. Most of the squad who DIDN’T take part in the World Cup are expected to take part in this one. The game is on Sunday 13th July and kicks off at 4:00pm BST.

But a new fixture was added about 10 days ago, which is a trip to Edinburgh’s now-second tier (Championship) side, Heart of Midlothian (Hearts). Kick off at the Tynecastle Stadium is 7:30pm BST on Friday 18th July.

Next stop is then the U.S., where the rest of the first team will join on various dates depending on how long certain players stay in Brazil. Expect a ‘kit launch’ whilst the team are in America too…

Speaking of Brazil and from a very selfish point of view, it was great to see David Silva come home early. I’m sure he won’t be thinking the same, of course, but our little genius needs a long rest before the season and I’m sure we’ll benefit greatly from his team’s shocking, early exit.

Not so sure Edin Dzeko coming home early was a good thing though - he appeared to be carrying on his good, late-season form and when a player is IN that kind of form; you want them to carry on and on. He’ll be kicking the sand in frustration now that’s for sure and I just hope we don’t see ‘Mr Sulk’ appear again…

I hope Holland stay in the competition right to the final – anything that can disrupt Manyoo’s preparation for the season can only be a good thing. C’mon LVG’s men!

‘Prepare’ & ‘Repair’

Brace yourself in the coming weeks for some more Yaya stories. I think we all know the reason, now, for his peculiar, on-the-pitch behaviour towards the end of the season [snapping at decisions etc]. I wasn’t aware he had such a sick brother and I am very sad for his loss at such an awfully young age.

He’s a moody one is our Ivorian ‘midfield monster’ but I suppose it’s somewhat justified in this case. I just wish it hadn’t have all come out as ‘cake gate’ - clearly Yaya and his protective but harebrained agent were looking for ANY outlet to vent underlying issues and frustrations.

But the fact is, by Yaya’s own admittance, he didn’t ask Manchester City for time off after winning the league to visiting his terminally ill brother in a Manchester Hospital. Although it could be argued that, perhaps, Manchester City should have offered [knowing his situation and feelings] for him to remain by his bed-side instead of heading to Abu Dhabi for a promotional/marketing-trip match, I’m sure that if he’d have asked it would have been granted without hesitation.

It’s all a bit unfortunate to say the least and I’m sure that when ALL parties look back they’ll probably admit that they could have handled it very differently. Hopefully City can repair the damage and that things don’t get silly again.

I hope so but if Yaya and Dimitry Seluk have intentions to ‘make waves’ and ask for a move away from City then I hope they show their hand sooner rather than later, so that we can make a move for a replacement. That’s a lot of goals and creativity to replace…

Sorry about the 'fonting' and general layout on this one folks - Blogger is playing silly buggers again...

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