January: Any Taxis For Ashton New Road?
Well it's that time again. The winter transfer window has opened...
The biggest transfer rumour to already hit the back pages involves the intrigue at Barcelona surrounding Lionel Messi. Sergio Aguero and the one and only YaYa Toure are apparently urging Mr Messi to climb aboard the City team bus. As we well know, Messi is Aguero's international team mate and YaYa shared a Catalan dressing room with Messi for three years.
It's alleged that an unhappy Messi feels he is no longer the hot shot of the Barca side. Neymar has seemingly stepped into the limelight and taken that mantle and financial issues are somewhere in there. Disputes over contracts and the like dismissed by a radio interview with Barca's vice president stating Messi has signed a contract until 2018 and it doesn't need renewing every other day. This was supposedly followed up by the Messi camp's aforementioned 'response.'
It's all well up in the air as far as I can see. I don't hold out much hope for Messi coming to The Etihad, certainly not in January, but one shall see because if it could at the end of the day be just a squabble, a bitchy fight, call it what you will but IF it cannot be fixed, the brilliant 26 year old would of course be inundated with offers. In England, only Chelsea or City have the clout to make it happen. One to keep an eye on. There's no smoke without fire. With one eye on next summer, our Champions League clash with Barca could yet prove pivotal.
Messi returned to training with Barca on Friday from Buenos Aires after a 5 week absence for hamstring treatment.
On a less public scale I noted an article on Joleon Lescott this week which stating that possibly, as soon as this weekend, that the England international could go on loan to Spurs. Why? Considering the Manchester Evening News have Manuel Pellegrini quoted as saying Joleon is going nowhere in January.
I have to say that were this imminent, I would rather hang fire on any Lescott departure so soon at least until we have Martin Demichelis back yet again from a second injury, this time Christmas Day training. I know that Lescott is not the boss's number one choice but to let him go out on a year long loan right now is, in my eyes, not a good choice. But, I guess we do have to respect the wishes of the player and let him go if he wants to as he needs to keep playing if he is to make England's World Cup squad for Brazil this summer.
Then there's John Guidetti who we are also allegedly ready to let go on loan to Stoke or West Ham even. We all want to see Guidetti play for City but Pellegrini clearly has other ideas over the 21 year old's fitness and I sort of am inclined to agree with him on this one as Guidetti did have a seriously long time out due to a nerve wasting injury that to go and play elsewhere where the demands and expectations are not so high would be good for him. If the time comes when he is back to 100% fitness then I am sure the offer will be on the table for The Rhino to come back to us.
The Engineer said at his pre-Blackburn press conference: 'We will see now we are in January. John was not at Swansea because he had a little problem in his knee but we will see in the transfer window if he goes - maybe it's a chance for him to start playing. We have four very important strikers, and John must play after being out for a long time...'
Finally, there remains a mystery surrounding elusive summer signing Stevan Jovetic. What's going on and where is he? The rumour mill has it that he could be shipped out to somewhere like AS Roma for a loan period but Pellegrini insists he isn't going anywhere. Maybe Sherlock Holmes could solve this mystery. Is he homesick? It's a shame really that we have not seen him for more than 40 minutes as he is hugely talented and we do need a fourth striker to maintain our campaigns on four fronts. Need of another striker after 85 goals have been scored? Yes! Of course, I accept we have Edin Dzeko but we are a City divided over his talents and efforts and we will continue to be so for a long time yet. And no, Dzeko is not going anywhere either.
UPCOMING DATES FOR YOUR FILOFAX:
all times East Manchester GMT
TODAY 12h45 Blackburn, Ewood Park, FAC3
We 08Jan 19h45 West Ham United, The Etihad, LCSF1
Su 12Jan 14h05 Newcastle United, St James Park, PL
Sa 18Jan 15h00 Cardiff City, The Etihad, PL
Tu 21Jan 19h45 West Ham United, Upton Park, LCSF2
We 29Jan 19h45, Tottenham Hotspur, White Hart Lane, PL
Mo 03Feb 2014 20h00 Chelsea, The Etihad, PL