Thursday, 11 July 2013

2013/07/11 Day 10: Alternative style of football. Please live up to it…

Here is what happened in the last 24 hours:
  • Richard Wright signed one year extension with City. He has yet to make appearance in the first team football. (Reported in Skysports)
  • Karim Rekik has moved to PSV Eindhoven for a season-long loan. Good move and hopefully it works out for him. (Reported in Skysports)
  • Gareth Barry to Arsenal? It went on for a while but Gunners are interested to sign England international at the cost of 4 million. Getting rid of 100,000 a week from salary space can be attractive for Manuel Pellegrini. (Reported in Yahoo! Sports)
  • After Manuel Pellegrini’s first press conference, there is growing certainty of signing additional strikers within a few weeks. (finally…) and it is becoming apparent that City’s targets are Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic. Guardian and various news agents are now starting to report that Jovetic’s agency, which is same as Matija Nastasic, has now travelled to Manchester to strike the deal. As I mentioned yesterday’s, it is known that City have first refusal on Jovetic, as the part of Nastasic deal from last year.
  • Regarding Negredo case, the deal is getting nearer to completion, since Sky Sports and BBC Sports concurrently reported that City are about to sign two times Zarra trophy winner. Despite strong denial from Sevilla’s president, Jose Maria del Nido, on receiving offer from City, Sky Sports also revealed that he held meeting with City chief executive Ferran Soriano on 3rd of July, regarding potential transfer of Alvaro Negredo. With his replacement signed (Carlos Bacca from Club Brugge), I think the transfer is only matter of time.
From his first press conference he seemed to be more secretive towards squad management then Roberto Mancini, as he was often clumsy or even confrontational against media. However, he was not shy against challenge ahead of him. His goal this season (the minimum target, so to speak) is to regain league title and run a successful campaign in the Champions League, which Mancini did not manage to do for two consecutive seasons. He also promised more expansive football, which will be eye-watering stuff that could not be experienced under Mancini era. I just hope that his style does not wreck the well-built defense that he inherited from Mancini.

Other transfer news:
  • No Higuain. No Suarez… Are Gooners going to sign anyone big?? Bid on Higuain collapsed due to extra 5 million demand from Real Madrid and Suarez was never affordable target for them. Now Real Madrid’s pursuit on want-away Liverpool striker growing, it seems they might have to look for different option. So far, all Prof. Wenger bought is Football Manager “sensation” Yaya Sanogo, (in my game, he averages 30+ goals in the league). Is it enough? Well…
  • Southampton is becoming interesting club to watch. Since they managed to bring in Gaston Ramirez (whom I never thought to be suitable for the Saints, which was proved to be wrong), they are now getting inch closer to sign Super Eagle’s starlet, Victor Wanyama. From Celtic’s memorable victory against Barcelona, Wanyama started to attract various interests from big clubs, which includes Manchester United. With him, Ramirez, Morgan Schneiderlin and Adam Lallana in the midfield (and they are young too), I can see them advancing to mid-table team.
  • Is Thiago Alcantara REALLY going to Manchester United? Since the end of last season, press from all over the world were so hyped to see son of Brazil legend to replace Paul Scholes and assist Michael Carrick, who single-handedly held Utd midfield together last season. Well it is already mid-July and there is no confirmation from his party to play for Utd next season and, interestingly, there is a speculation that he might be heading to Munich to join his former manager. So what went wrong for Utd? Similar to Isco case, in which he was persuaded by Zinedine Zidane, Alcantara was advised not to move to Utd from their national coach Vincente del Bosque, concerning his regular playing time at Utd (it’s a bit odd thing to say...). NBC Sports report that the deal is imminent and will be signed as soon as today.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

2013/07/10 Day 9: Quality defender required… but really? Pepe?

Here are the rumours that went around in last 24 hours:
  •  Pellegrini has been looking at hot-tempered Portuguese international Pepe to replace Joleon Lescott. Sadly (?) though Carlos Ancelotti seems likely to block this potential deal. (Reported in Telegraph and Independent)
  • Consequently, Joleon Lescott is likely to retain his place in the squad, as Pellegrini confirms that he will reject offers for him (But still does not mean we don’t need another centre-back though) (Reported in Telegraph)
  • Stevan Jovetic deal seems to be progressing as it is now identified that his release is £27million and spotted his agent seems to be roaming around to strike the deal. As part as Mathias Natasic deal last season, Caughtoffside is mentioned that City has first refusal on Jovetic. (Reported in ESPN & The Sun)
  • Pursuit of Steven Jovetic means City’s interest on Pablo Osvaldo has cool down. (Thank god for that... Remember Rolando Bianchi?) (Reported in Daily Express)
  • It seems Micah Richards’ new contract talk has been prolonged for a while and it is now reported that Richards would like to see Pellegrini’s plan prior to sign the contract. While there is reported interest from Inter, Richards also wants increase on his already buffed up salary of £65,000. (Reported in Daily Mail & Guardian)
  • According to media reports from Argentina, Carlos Tevez was told to lost six kilos of his weight ahead of next season. During his medical at Juventus Stadium, medical team discovered he was overweight and Antonio Conte admonished him to lose the weight.

In comparison to what has been a very active transfer market since the end of season, City have been relatively quiet one until now. Spending £50million on two good players is sounding investment (and I am sure they will improve City’s chance to regain the Premier League title in the upcoming season) but I am not sure on whether it has enhanced the current squad status, which will guarantee the success in the Champions League. Overall quality of incoming players looks good compare to last year’s hastily bought peripheral players but I think, the squad needs bulk up a little bit more to achieve goal for next season, which are to regain the league title and good champions league campaign.

Today’s Completed Transfer (Selected):
Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar -> Sunderland, £8.8million)
Henrik Mkhitaryan (Shakhtar Donetsk -> Borussia Dortmund, £23million)
Rolando Bianchi (Torino -> Bologna, Free)

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

2013/07/09 Day 8: Still no sign of striker…

Here is what has reported in the last 24 hour: 
  • City are close to sign Pablo Osvaldo, according to various sources (None from broadsheet paper though)
  • Alvaro Negredo’s arrival at the Eastland is imminent (Reported in various medias, incl. BBC & Guardian)
  • Signing Edinson Cavani is beginning to slip away, as PSG are preparing to match the Napoli’s price tag. (Reported in Skysports & FoxSports.)
  • Scott Sinclair has been constantly on the transfer rumour and his latest potential destination is Newcastle, according to Skysports, as Joe Kinnear is keen to sign him.
  • City are still in for swooping Fiorentina’s starlet Stevan Jovetic, as his potential transfer to Juventus is on halt, due to poor relationship between two clubs. Arsenal are also interested. (Reported in AS and Skysports)
  • Aleksandar Kolarov’s future will be decided soon if Galatasaray decide to cough up £1.25-million for his loan fee with £5 million of signing option. (Reported in the Express)
  • Julian Draxler, who was sensational for Schalke 04 last season, became the latest target for various clubs, which includes City. (Reported in Daily Star)
  • Edin Dzeko’s future seems to lie in Madrid, after Atletico Madrid showed interest to spend some of profit made from selling Radamel Falcao. (Reported in Guardian)
So far, City have signed two brilliant players, who can provide strength and flair to Ciy’s paper thin midfield area (considering City only have Yaya Toure and David Silva to rely on, yes two midfielders are not enough for a 50+ games) but, after sending Super Mario and Carlos to Italy, City are genuinely lacking firepower and the quality of those players, who has been speculated for past two months, seem to lack quality. Now that City have missed out on signing Cavani, who was only quality striker available in the transfer market, City have to make the next move pretty soon, otherwise, City will be experiencing another goal-deficient season.

Here today’s completed transfer:
David Villa (Barcelona -> Atletico Madrid, £4.4 million)
Eric Abidal (Unattached -> Monaco, Free)
Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich -> Fiorentina, £17.2 million)
Arouna Kone (WIgan Athletic -> Everton, £6 million)

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Review on Everton Match, Latest Transfer News

"Not thoroughly prepared"
That's what Roberto Mancini said after the defeat against Everton last season. Lame excuse but I accepted it and hoped he will not make the mistake again. After all, everyone deserves second chance. How wrong I was...

Funky feeling that I had prior to this match. Obviously absent of Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany would be a big factor but that was not my main concern. It was the formation that Mancini brought out, which is not suitable against Everton.

Sure three at the back works fine, as we saw time after time (at times, it was a game changer). But, if Mancini did his homework and prepared thoroughly enough towards this match, he could easily spot out that Everton have a good pair of full-backs that could threat both City flanks. With only one player on the each flank, I could easily see City's liability lies there and Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines made sure my worries to become true. (I will not go into Mancini's absurd substitutions as it will be discussed in my next post)

Besides tactical mess, there were just no assertiveness among City players. Especially in the first half, when City were dominated by Everton, link play between David Silva and Edin Dzeko were poor and, at midfield, City seemed to be swamped and unable to pull strings to deliver quality ball to up front.

With Utd's victory against manager-less Reading, now the gap is 15 points and there just seems no way back to retain the trophy that City craved since 67-68 season. With nine games to go, I should not expect too much but a strong finish with FA cup in the trophy cabinet. But is it too much too ask for current City team?

Transfer Mills

  • Marcos Reus and Ilkay Gundogan has been the latest target for City. Watched by many City supporters, Reus was sensational against City in the Champions League tie last October and he seems to be the player that could add spark to the City attacking department. Source: The Sunday People

Likely or Unlikely? Unlikely, as both of them look happy in 'die Schwarzgelben' and not many German players leave their country to play their football abroad.

  • Aguero has been a target for Real for a while. Resilient forward, who has been a main talisman for City, has struggled with injuries during this season. With Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain not performing, Fiorentino Perez wants to add new signing to spark competition within the squad by signing the Kun. Source: Daily Star

Likely or Unlikely? Very unlikely. He has been centrepiece of City's forward. Why on earth would we sell him?

  • Yaya's contract talk is stalled. The talk began six months ago but it seems nothing could get agreed as he felt that City members did not give enough respects to him, according to his agent, Dimitri Seluk. Real Madrid and Chelsea are lurking around to sign him. Source: The Sun

Likely or Unlikely? Even chance. Yaya is aging and still has African Cup of Nation duty, which undermines the City midfield for short but crucial period of time. But is there straight replacement for him?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Lamela, Pjanic? Zabaleta on Tevez Incident and Others

Transfer Mills

  • Erik Lamela and Miralem Pjanic were caught under City's radar recently, when Roma beat Genoa 3-1 last week. City Football Development Executive Patrick Vieira was here to check them out and, according to Talksports, two players will strengthen their attacking department behind Aguero and Tevez.
  • Out-of-favour Alexis Sanchez has been rumoured to move anywhere after his below-average performance at Camp Nou. City are amongst many other clubs, who are rumoured to sign him. 
  • Edin Dzeko's potential move to Dortmund was muted by their general manager, Hans-Joachim Watzke. He said on German broadcasting station Sport 1: Anyone who really believes that a player from Manchester City would be transferred to Borussia Dortmund hasn't understood the BVB business model." He added: "Our motto is to develop young players."
  • UAE sensation Omar Abdurahman is staying put, at least for now, after finding out some difficulties on obtaining work permit. Mentioned in the winter transfer, I think, he was star in the UAE Olympic team last year and seems to have a great potential in him to succeed at this level.

Internal News

  • Pablo Zabaleta took a moment to look over last year's brawl between Roberto Mancini and Carlos Tevez and believes Tevez has gone back to his best. Quoted from the Daily Star, Zabaleta said: ""It's been difficult for Carlos, for Mancini, for the club. From something small, it grew so big," He continued: "After it happened, everything went crazy and it was so difficult.
        "Everybody makes mistakes. The positive thing is Carlos came back again and the
         commitment for the club and team has been 100 per cent, so that is well done by 

         "Is he as good as before? Yes, definitely. He got a fantastic goal against Chelsea 
         and he's been great all season."
  • Jack Rodwell, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero are all doubtful to play against Barnsley this weekend. Rodwell injured his hamstring again and expects to be sidelined for one month. Meanwhile, Aguero got his knee injured in Monday's training session and Kompany's calf injury is unlikely to be healed in time for the FA cup tie. 


  • Diego Maradona urged his son-in-law, Sergio Aguero to move to Real Madrid. Hmmm... I don't think so Hombre. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

MATCH WEEK 28 v Villa (Villa Park, KO 2000)

Closing gap is never easy. This season, in fact, it seems mission impossible for the Blues to overtake United, as they look to be enjoying their life with their talisman RVP.

But City have to march on. Even we do not retain the title this season, there is FA cup up for a grab and surely securing second place will consolidate our stature in EPL. Not as prestigious as last year but at least we have something to play for until the end of season.

Match against Villa at their home has been patchy for City. Apart from last year’s win, all thanks to Lescott, City were not able to get an easy win at Villa Park since City started financial maneouvering from 2007-08 season (Recording 1W 2L 2D). Especially, after the crashing defeat at St Mary, it seemed anything could happen.

Game started with surprisingly live Villa side trying to dominate the game with some fluidities in their play. But with young and inexperienced side like Villa, this was not a good sign as it empirically showed that this can not be sustained over whole 90 minutes. Especially, after Benteke’s towering header from corner blocked off from the line, Villa seemed to be on the slippery slope.

The match came alive ironically when Rodwell was substituted for Dzeko, for his left hamstring injury. Silva’s pass to Zabaleta found a space for the flying Argentine to take shot, which was brilliantly guided towards the post by Guzan. Minutes later, another fine effort was made by Tevez from outside of the box and once again it was Guzan who palmed away our Apache’s shot.

Eventually, the deadlock broke by persistence of Dzeko, as he hustled Clark to dispossess in their own half to regain possession for City. He then found Tevez in the space, who managed to wriggle through Villa’s defense to find back of the net, his ninth goal of the season. 

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Aston villa v Manchester City - Villa Park
Courtesy of Guardian 

Second half was not much different from the first half. Villa tried to regain their early dominance but almost conceded another one when Dzeko dispossessed Villa defense in their own half once again and managed to find Tevez with a good angle to work on. Only this time, Tevez could not find back of the net to settle the nerve of away fan.

There was a startling moment for City when Lowton blasted a fierce shot from way out but it was no match to Yaya’s instinctive shooting around the box, which rattled the right hand post of Guzan.

Dull performance overall and it was expected, considering how both of the clubs has been playing throughout the season. Routine performance dully delivered from City and left Villa at the bottom three. Final Score: Aston Villa 0 Manchester City 1

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Dzeko Denies Transfer & Balotelli Transfer Saga Continues and More

Dzeko Off to Inter?

Recent speculation of Dzeko joining the Nerazzuri seemed to be another baseless rumour out of no where, as his agent, Irfan Redzepagic, strongly denies the rumour of him moving to Inter. Although he had some thought on moving somewhere else, when Falcao was rumoured to be signed, . As one of most efficient striker in the EPL, City got to keep him for their competitiveness up front.

Never Ending Saga of Mario

Moving. Not moving. Moving. Not Moving.... Now he served notice on his rented four-bedroom house, with the property in Alderley Edge being available since January 11th for £13,495 (€16,000) a month. There is a rumour that Milan might sell French defender Philippe Mexès to fund Mario's transfer fee, while Mario's agent is claiming that he is not going to move in this transfer window. This saga is just never going to end...

Another Keeper? 

So Pontilimon is not good enough to challenge Hart and it is now reported that City are battling against United, who has a big problem in their goalkeeping position, to get Asmir Begovic for £13 million. Seems to be a waste of money for a keeper who is just a good enough to play in a regular club. I would've contemplated on buying same caliber of Thibaut Courtois, who is certainly going to replace Petr Cech at Stamford Bridge in near future but the City's top rank seem to have different idea.

Talent from Middle-East

ClubCall reported that City are monitoring UAE playmaker Omar Abdulrahman after his outstanding Gulf Cup performances. Hamburg and Sporting Lisbon also monitoring this youngster, who gave an impressive performance in London 2012. Dubbed as UAE's own Iniesta, he does look impressive and hopefully City will be able to sign him.