Sunday, 30 June 2013

Spicy Pepe and striker links by the dozen.

With City being linked yet again with a move for Real Madrid’s, Portuguese central defender Pepe, I have to ask, do we really need this nutter?

Clearly a quality defender – having played 138 games for the Spanish giants and having 51 international caps – but how much time would he actually spend on the pitch in the Premier League and how much would he spend in the stands; serving suspension after suspension after suspension.

This well-documented & circulated video is a ‘must see’ for those who haven’t already and are excited about being linked with the player.

 

30-years of age for a ‘nut job’ whose career is (cayenne) peppered with horror incidents? Doesn’t sound like a policy the new regime at City would (or should) adopt…

Can you play as a striker?


If the answer to that question is yes - and if you haven’t been linked with City in the last week or so in particular - then keep an eye out for your name in the press…

In the last week alone, City have been linked with Steven Jovetic, Diego da Silva Costa, Alvaro Negredo, Robert Lewandowski, David Villa, Wayne Rooney, Christian Benteke, Mario Gomez, Fred and Oscar Cardozo. Add to previously linked Edison Cavani and Stephen El Shaarawy and that’s some list.

Oddly enough - and I might be in the minority of City fans here - one striker that I’d like who we HAVEN’T been linked with (but Arsenal have) is Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuaínalthough we were linked with him a while back during Roberto Mancini’s tenure.




I mean, just look at the fun he & Chappy would have…


 
   Gonzalo Higuaín: Doing a Laurel & Hardy
 
Les Chapman - Larking around as usual
 

And in other news…



Music to my ears!

Monday morning Blues


Link: Welcome to Manchester Manuel


So Manuel Pellegrini starts his new job on Monday 1st July – no doubt the rumours of ins & outs will intensify even further…

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Tevez is Tev-ex and Isco is a no-go.

So it’s “goodbye from Manchester” to Carlos Tevez. I don’t think I’ll be alone in being slightly disappointed and if I’m ever asked why that is so, it’s because I believed that under Pellegrini we would have seen a refreshed & revitalised Carlos.

There’s NEVER a doubt about his 100% commitment on the field of play of course but, similar to Aguero last season, he just lost his edge in front of goal a little bit. That, for me, was temporary and would have been rectified under our new Manager this season.

After a medical with Juventus some time this week, an initial £10M will exchange bank accounts with, apparently, a series of £2.5M ‘add ons’ depending on how the Italian Champions progress in the Champions League and Serie A over the next 3 seasons.

Sounds like a good deal for us to be fair.

I can understand City wanting to cash in on the barrel-chested, all action Argentine while he’s still in the last year of his contract. I’m sure too that City officials have done their long-term projections much better than I can.

But for me, sticking with our 3 first team strikers - plus John Guidetti - would not only have been enough to take us into this season but would have also saved us considerable cash in not having to strengthening that area – presumably we’re now going to step up our pursuit of Edison Cavani again…and will probably pay the Uruguayan a little more than Carlos was on.

The pace will pick up now


So with us now having to replace Tevez and with Isco all but signed for Real Madrid - presuming Pellegrini still thinks that we need someone to slot into his scuppered plans to acquire the Spanish Under 21 international – I think it’s fair to say that the incoming transfer activity will pick up some serious pace now.

Pellegrini’s ‘things to do’ list (in approximate order of priority)


  1. Replacement for Tevez needed
  2. If we go for Cavani and Dzeko goes to Napoli as part of that deal…then a replacement for Dzeko is needed also
  3. After the disappointment of Isco, go for another creative midfielder – someone perhaps of the ilk and quality of Angel Di Maria or Marco Reus
  4. Sign an additional central defender; possibly two if Lescott is to leave
  5. Sign quality cover/competition for Clichy at left back
  6. Costel Pantilimon set to leave? Then get another goalkeeper.
Also to do…

  1. Consider the futures of the following players:

-          Costel Pantilimon
-          Aleksandar Kolarov
-          Micah Richards
-          Joleon Lescott
-          Javi Garcia
-          Scott Sinclair
-          Gareth Barry
-          James Milner
-          Jack Rodwell
-          Abdisalam Ibrahim
-          John Guidetti
-          Edin Dzeko
-          Alex Nimely
-          Luca Scapuzzi and…
-          …a whole host of other fringe / youth players
 
  1. Check out the best seafood restaurants in Manchester
  2. Find the best route to the coast and the best beaches to walk on (good luck with that one Manuel)
  3. Record some announcements for the Metrolink tram

Finally, another ‘leaked’ kit...


Similar to one that has done the rounds before, this little black number is back in circulation on the WEB again.

Doing the rounds...

Previously circulated: Two-tone black

If it’s the 3rd choice kit, then fine…I suppose. But for me all black or all navy blue kits are lazy ones brought out by kit designers & football clubs and, more importantly, has nothing to do with Manchester Cityunless they’re trying to make a link with our St.Mark’s days?


 
 
If so, fine…but why not REALLY go for it and bring out a shirt similar to Parma’s?

 

 
Aside from the St. Mark’s link, which would be a good thing in my opinion; call me a traditionalist – but not a boring one – it should be maroon or red ‘n’ black as a second strip and a variation of a white kit as a 3rd choice kit; perhaps with flashes of either sky blue, maroon, black or red & black.
 
 
With the re-branding/re-launch of City's stores due to be unveiled very soon, I'm sure it won't be long before we find out which 'leaked' shirts were correct and which were phony.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Isco mischief

Reports are rife this afternoon that Isco has finally decided on a move to Real Madrid over Manchester City. Sounds like a load of fishy paella to me!

Now I’m not saying that the young, Spanish creative midfielder WON’T choose The Whites over the Sky Blue Citizens but reports from both AS futbol and Marca are, for me, WAY wide of the mark.

Having no knowledge of either of these publications I have no idea of the quality of these news sources – they could be the English version of the gutter-press, sensationalist ‘red tops’.

But having read through both articles, there are no new quotes from Isco and so the situation is status quo - both Clubs have put in acceptable bids; Isco is simply to decide who he wants join (by Sunday 23rd June or early next week by all accounts).

So what if he chooses Real?


First of all I need to say that as a long-time Manchester City fan I still need to pinch myself sometimes. After all, it was just over 14 years ago that we were battling our way out of the 3rd tier of English football in a nervy final against Gillingham!

Now we find ourselves seriously battling with the biggest teams in the WORLD for the top stars in the beautiful game. Of course we now have the money to pay big wages; I’m not naive to that fact. But the footballing romantic side of me still clings onto the hope that, sold to potential new signings in the right way; would-be star arrivals must surely see the very bright future that lays ahead of our ever-improving, wonderful football club – dare I say…’the project’.


Link: City's new training complex - due for completion in 2015
 
Link: 6,000 expansion of the South Stand - Due to commence Jan '14
 

But of course Real Madrid have been at the top for decades and so it wouldn’t be a total surprise – nor should it be seen as a disgrace – if Isco chooses the Spanish giants over the rising phoenix in Manchester.

Ironically you have to ask the question, would Real capturing the signature of Isco make them more likely to consider the possibility of off-loading winger Angel Di Maria? With 2 years remaining on his 5-year contact; it’s certainly a possibility and one, which, we should definitely consider taking advantage of. Angel on the left and Jesus on the right? For me, that’s a worthy of a….WOW!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The 4-6-0

I was speaking to a colleague at work yesterday about how, if we didn’t get Edison Cavani; as long as we got Isco we’d be MORE than 'okay' going into the season with Aguero, Dzeko, Guidetti and, hopefully, Tevez.

I then went for my dinner break and the papers were full of City all-but giving up on signing the Napoli striker...and how a kind of Barcelona-style 4-6-0 could possibly be adopted by Manuel Pellegrini. Bloody press copycats…

But what if Tevez goes?


Of course if Tevez does decide he wants to move on to pastures new I personally think we need to replace him with a quality striker. And so if Cavani ISN’T joining us, that would have to be someone of the likes of Steven Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuaín (a possible target for Arsenal?), Robert Lewandowski (staying at Dortmund or, again, possibly going to Arsenal?), Mario Gomez or Stephen El Shaarawy.

But assuming, for a moment, that we start the season with our current 4 strikers (including, as I say, John Guidetti), as long as we do sign creative midfielder Isco, I for one are absolutely fine with this...more than a little excited in fact.

Not only am I convinced that under Pellegrini we’ll see a much better season from both Aguero & Tevez (tremendous quality strikers themselves let’s not forget) but I think this’ll be John Guidetti’s big chance under our new Manager. Enough has already been said about how a change in system – and introduction of at least one new winger – will benefit Dzeko greatly…and I totally agree.

So…Isco in, Cavani not in and all 4 City strikers ‘staying put’; have a look at these tasty formations.

4-5-1 / 4-2-3-1

____________________Dzeko____________________






Isco_________________Silva________________Navas
 

_________Fernandinho___________Toure___________

 

 

Clichy_______Nastasic_______Kompany_______Zabaleta

 

 

______________________Hart______________________

 
Not working? Need to change it?

4-3-2-1 / 4-3-3

____________________Dzeko____________________

 


_____Aguero_________________________Tevez_____

 
 

__________Isco_____Fernandinho_____Silva________
 

 


Clichy_______Nastasic_______Kompany_______Zabaleta

 

 

______________________Hart______________________


Or how about…

4-1-4-1

____________________Dzeko____________________

 
 

 

Nasri___________Isco________Silva__________Navas


 

__________________Fernandinho__________________

 

 
Clichy_______Nastasic_______Kompany_______Zabaleta 

 


 
______________________Hart______________________


Not working? Need to change it?

4-4-2 

_______________Aguero_______Tevez_______________

 

 

 

Isco_________Fernandinho____Toure___________Navas

 

 

Clichy_______Nastasic_______Kompany_______Zabaleta

 

 

______________________Hart______________________


Missing personnel

 
Of course I’ve not even included a whole host of Defenders; neither have I included Barry, Garcia, Rodwell, Milner, Sinclair or, indeed, John Guidetti. But you get the idea and I hope that, like me, you can see the potential for so many options and so much creativity & goals without the need to spend £52M on one striker.

In fact, if we were to sign Angel De Maria as WELL as Isco, then we could well see a 4-6-0 formation being deployed by Pellegrini. I'm not sure Aguero, Dzeko, Guidetti & Tevez would approve though…

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Man(uel) from Chile – he say yes!

What a surprise hey? Didn’t see this one coming…

Anyway, there are of course already some interesting facts and some ‘funnies’ out there about our new Manager; some of which I’ll go on to include. But in the mean time, here are just a few things that might not be ‘out there’ in the last 24-hours regarding our new Manager.

1. He looks a bit like the Irish comedian Dave Allen.


 

 
 
 
  
Manuel Pellegrini

2. He likes fish. Rafael Aguilar, the owner of the fish restaurant in Malaga where Pellegrini was a regular visitor, was quite upset at the news that he would be losing Manuel’s custom.

Rafael Aguilar - Gutted!

However, here are a few seafood restaurants in & around Manchester where Manuel might be interested in dining out:

Chaophraya
Ocean Treasure 235
The Grill on the Alley
Livebait
Fahrenheit

Other fine seafood restaurants are available in & around Manchester…so you’ve got lots of choice Manuel!

3. Manuel is going to have to spend some time in the recording studio, recording some Metrolink tram announcements. Do you think anyone has told him this yet?

Erm…that’s about it really. You can get the rest of the facts 'n' stuff from other sites.

Now for some songs


Taken from City’s Facebook page (for those who know me, they know that I hate Facebook – it was my wife who informed me about these and as they were very good indeed, as much as it pained me to both have a look and include them; I felt that I just had to...)

Lets all have a disco, Silva, Navas, Isco. Yaya-Ya-ya, Yaya-YA-ya.
Lets all have a party, Aguero and Cavani. Yaya-Ya-ya, Yaya-YA-ya.
Lets all drink Lambrini; celebrating Pellegrini. Yaya-Ya-ya, Yaya-YA-ya.

Bradley Ashton sensibly added: “I hope we sign Cavani and Isco now…”

Pellegrini woah, Pellegrini woah. He came from sunny Spain, to manage in the rain.
Pellegrini, woah…

You put Isco in, Kolo out, in-out, in-out, you change the team about. You do the Pellegrini and you turn around; that's what it's all about. Woooooah-Pellegrini, wooooooah-Pellegrini. Wooooooah-Pellegrini. Knees bent, arms stretched, raa-raa-raa.

And last, but certainly not least…

It could have been Moyes…it could have been Moyyyyyyes. We're lucky B**tards; it could have been Moyes.

What ever happened to, "Here we go, here we go, here we go..." after we scored a goal? It's a classic and must surely be brought back!

Bon-voyage


So our new man is in and apart from taking the time to conduct an interview for MCFCTV – introducing his backroom staff along the way – he’s now off for a brief holiday. In fairness to him, he does need to 'top up' that tan before Manchester starts the process of washing it all away…making him look even MORE like Dave Allen!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Today? Tomorrow?


Having been personally a little surprised that City officially unveiled two new signings before parading their new Manager, I’m left wondering if Manuel Pellegrini (if indeed his IS the man of course) will be unveiled this week.


Still patient for our new Manager’s arrival; I’m also left wondering if the time it’s taking to show off our new ‘man at the helm’ is down to him bringing a certain Spanish midfielder with him for a kind of, double ‘welcome to Manchester’ showing…and that’s taking up more time. All conjecture of course…

All appears to have gone quiet on Isco but then again if Pellegrini is indeed our new Manager elect, then their close working relationship together would make it easier to conduct any negotiations in private I’m sure.

Clear out


If there ARE any jitters from me regarding the time it’s taking to bring in a new Manager then, strangely, and of course, it’s not because we need someone to orchestrate new signings. But because we are rebuilding at a fair old pace, we’ve got some clearing out to do as soon as possible.

Other teams are going to want to start tinkering with their own squads soon and the sooner we get our own Manager in place the sooner he’ll be able to say who he does and DOESN’T want to keep. He might be able to say who he wants IN from afar but how could he possibly decide who he doesn’t want to keep without being closer to the players at the Club?

Surely Pellegrini wouldn’t do a YouTube on our current players and decided from there… J

Gareth Barry has now been linked with a move to either Spurs or Stoke City and others on the sale list will probably include…

Javi Garcia
Scott Sinclair
Edin Dzeko

…with others going out on loan or simply being released as a free agents.

Although we still need a new striker as well as a need to ‘sure up’ the defence a little too, we need to be mindful of balancing the books...and some urgency on this would be a good thing. The quicker the final squad is in place for pre-season the better.

City won’t need the likes of me telling them that of course and as fans all we can do is sit and watch it progress in front of our watchful eyes.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick…

Monday, 10 June 2013

All cagey on the Eastlands 'front'


Of course this time of year (or now ANY time of year for City these days) is rife with player comings & goings. But since the signing of Fernandinho and the all-but-signed Jesus Navas, transfer activity talk has moved to the strikers in recent days.


Not arriving?


From a 'Club insider' apparently saying recently that the deal was as good as done with City (along with a Napoli official being told to 'go and have a chat with City about a possible deal'); all appears to have changed with regards to Edison Cavani.

The powerful Napoli forward is still highly likely to move SOMEWHERE this summer and Chelsea have now been linked with a move to 'muscle in' on our apparent ‘number 1’ front-man-target. Rumours are that some other top European side may also now be interested in the £54M buy-out-clause man. Could he be slipping from our grasp? Hope not.

So what happens soon after the Cavani link 'cools' a little? Speculation quickly turns to a new striker - not previously linked with us to my knowledge - in the form of AC Milan’s Stephen El Shaarawy. The young Italian was in blistering form for the Red & Blacks early on last season but appeared to take a dip in form; coinciding with the arrival of a certain Mr Balotelli.

However, as quickly as this rumour arrived – some reports even suggesting that we’d put in a bid of anywhere between £34M & £40M - the player himself was then apparently quoted as saying,

"I don't think I will leave Milan", El Shaarawy told La Repubblica. CIf City really wants me, it flatters me. But I want to stay here at AC Milan".

"I always felt total confidence from all; the club, coach [Massimiliano] Allegri and team-mates".

"It's also thanks to them that I am in the Italian national team."

Staying? Going?


Then, and not for the first time, we’re told by the Mirror that Manuel Pellegrini may well want Edin Dzeko to stay with the Blues. Of course with attacking emphasis switching to the wings [supplying the ammunition to the front man / men] in the form of Jesus Navas and links also with Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid; keeping Edin makes perfect sense.

Another City forward, however, may well be on the move. Despite reports that our new, incoming Manager also wants to talk to Carlos Tevez about him-signing a new 2-year deal, there are growing reports about him moving to another European club.

And I found this article particularly interesting:

Now this is either some very, VERY good sleuthing indeed; pesky rumour mongering or simply someone with a keen eye putting 2 & 2 together and coming up with 17.

3 is the magic number?


With continued rumours about John Guidetti being linked with a loan (or otherwise) move to Sunderland, emphasis is indeed all on our forwards at the moment. And whoever ends up arriving, staying put or going; don’t be surprised to see us at least START the season with just 3 strikers. WHAT?! I hear you say? I know…it leaves me a little bit edgy too.

But with the growing list of attacking midfielders at City (including the still-possible signing of Isco and continuous talk of this 4-3-3 come attacking 4-5-1 system); it shouldn’t really come as such a shock to most Blues.

Defence gets a quick mention too…


Amongst talk of strikers, we have been linked with 2 central defenders recently.

More than once the name Pepe from Real Madrid has cropped up and, more recently, French international Adil Rami from Valencia.

I don’t know too much about Rami. However, known by Real Madrid fans as ‘The Beast’; although Pepe looks like a very good, top-class defender indeed, he does also seem to ’leave his foot in’ a fair bit and have niggles at opposing players from time to time. I'll let you look at the various YouTube footage...

Crass


And then there’s this piece of “work” from the Manchester Evening News. Headed up, “Gossip”, it makes some pretty wild assumptions, which are both crass and classless from our local newspaper.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Bridge gone, Guidetti’s final loan test?

News that Wayne Bridge turned down an offer to move to ol’ ‘arry’s QPR was quickly followed by the 56th rumour in 12 months that John Guidetti might join Sunderland on loan.

Skitting – and slight exaggeration aside – I hope John DOES join Sunderland on loan in order to gain 4 or 5 months ‘proper’ experience. Not only do we need to see what John can do at Premier League level but under Paulo Di Canio, I can see him flourish and be allowed to express himself. Certainly the fiery Italian would like the work ethic and professionalism of the young Swede.

Back to Wayne Bridge, briefly, it was good see that Redknapp was irked by his Clubs’ dithering-over and eventual unwillingness to sign the ex-England left-back – anything that gets up the nose of the ‘twitchy one’ is fine by me. J


He's a gud boy; he's a gud-gud boy...


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going, going…staying


And, we’re told by the Mirror, that City have released a…’released’ and ‘retained’ list. On that released list - in addition to Wayne - is Roque Santa Cruz (still has some weeks to run on his contract), Kolo Toure (free agent...but again not until 1st July 2013), Filippo Mancini (whatever) and Ryan McGivern (recently signed by Hibs on a 2-year contract).

Sceptical


On the retained list, there are names like Gareth Barry (50/50 for me whether he’ll be kept on); Dedryck Boyata (doubtful he’ll remain at the Club), Edin Dzeko (another one in the balance), Javier Garcia (most likely to be leaving to make way for a ‘new look’ midfield), Aleksandar Kolarov (surely not!), Costel Pantilimon (actively looking for a move), Luca Scapuzzi (I would be surprised if he had a City future) and Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely (can’t see him making it either).

In short, I don’t give too much credence to this so-called list released by Manchester City; I can’t see anything on City’s own WEB site either…

Fernandinho


So, the ‘putting of pen to paper’ of Fernandinho a couple of days ago took me a little by surprise; in that I didn’t expect anything like that to happen until after our new Manager was in place.
 
And, okay, Manchester City probably aren’t (yet) big in the Ukraine but when asked the question right at the end of this interview (at 5:36),

Finally, what do you know about Manchester City and this Football Club(aren’t they one in the same thing?) he may as well have said,

Well, f*ck all really”.