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)