With the arrival of former Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad this summer, City have a very good chance of being able to lure one of the continent’s most gifted youngsters to Manchester in the form of Isco who describes Pellegrini as his footballing father.
Meanwhile, City are also hot on the heels of one of Italy’s breakthrough stars this summer – AC Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy has taken the Serie A by storm this term scoring 16 goals and making 5 assists for the San Siro side.
At just 20 years of age, El Shaarawy seems to have the world at his feet and City are reportedly prepared to spend big to bring him on board the new project under Pellegrini but – as I outlined last week – it would appear the youngster is leaning towards staying in Milan, despite his club’s bizarre insistence he is ‘not not for sale’ last week.
Meanwhile, back in La Liga, Isco is not the only youngster breaking through – what about 20-year-old forward Iker Muniain? Pellegrini must be well acquainted with his talents over at Athletic Bilbao for whom he has already become a first-team regular since breaking through the youth ranks back in 2009.
He’s made 127 La Liga appearances already, despite his tender age; he’s played in a Europa League final, a Copa del Rey final, both in 2011 and won the prestigious La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year.
The following year, in 2012, he earned his first call up to Spain senior team, coming on as substitute for Cesc Fabregas in a friendly against Venezuela that was played in Malaga.
His goal record is nowhere near as impressive as El Shaarawy’s, admittedly – his highest tally in any of his four seasons for Athletic Bilbao was 9 in 2011/12 but there is a very very good reason his club have slapped a monumental €36 million release-clause on him.
That equates to around £30 million – coincidentally around the region City are reportedly willing to pay for El Shaarawy or Isco this summer. He is, in my estimation, just as technically gifted as Isco – his control and first-touch is at much the same level and his creativity and range of passing is not far behind.
He’s versatile – he can play pretty much anywhere across the forward lines – as a winger on either flank, an attacking midfielder through the middle and likely as he develops a top quality striker.
His talents are exceptional he would represent an astute acquisition should Pellegrini bring him in. He enters the final year of his contract next summer and his club are likely resigned to the eventuality that he’ll move on elsewhere in the next year – City ought to snap him up long before a bidding war ensues this time next year.
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