Once touted as a potential first-team star in the making Abdisalam Ibrahim is now widely believed to be on his way out of The Etihad after returning from a loan spell with Stromsgodset. So will Wigan Athletic, Southampton or West Brom follow up their reported interest in the talented midfielder?
When an 18-year-old Abdisalam Ibrahim made his first team debut for Manchester City against Scunthorpe United he was being dubbed the ‘next Vieira’ by many followers of his progress. Of course there were many reasons for this comparison. Firstly there was his height and style of play being very similar to that of the former Arsenal star while the fact Vieira was at that time playing for City may also have played a part in such billing and hype.
Signed in 2007 from lowly Norwegian outfit Fjellhamar the Somali born Norwegian youth international showed great promise and was expected to become one of the few City youngsters to break through into the megastar monopoly that is the City first team and was a member of the 2008 youth cup winning side.
He played during pre-season campaigns and was sent out on loan to then Championship side Scunthorpe in 2011 where he had an impressive spell. His next move was a loan spell in the Dutch Eredivisie with NEC Nijmegen. This was the sink or swim moment for Ibrahim as City bosses wanted to see how he coped with a step up in quality and unfortunately for him it didn’t end well. The season-long spell was terminated early in March this year as NEC technical director Carlos Aalbers put it:
"Abdisalem had it difficult in his role as a reserve. It was therefore better for everyone that he would return to Manchester to get his career back on track."
He couldn’t force his way into the Dutch outfits starting XI so upon his return City sought to send him out on loan once again; this time to his adopted homeland with Stromsgodset.
Things have improved since then as he aided the unfancied side to a second placed finish in Norway’s top division but now, with the conclusion of the Norwegian season, Ibrahim is back in Manchester and facing an uncertain future.
It is widely believed that Roberto Mancini has seen enough of ‘Abdi’ to realise he is not in his long term plans and while his stint at NEC remains a blip on his career he is still only 21 with plenty of potential for the future. Wigan, Southampton and West Brom have all been linked with an interest while several Norwegian sides including Rosenborg and Godset are interested in bringing him back to the Tippeligaen.
With a quoted price of £750,000 being bandied around the press there is little doubt he is a player worth giving a chance too. He may not be good enough for City yet there is still every chance he will show off his talents in the Premier League.
Would you want your side to gamble on Abdisalam Ibrahim?
image: © Gene Hunt