When Manchester City snapped up Abdisalam Ibrahim from Norwegian outfit Fjellhamar in 2007, the talented midfielder was instantly billed as ‘the next Patrick Vieira’.
You could see why. His dynamic and equally bullish style of play allied with his imposing physical stature lent itself to comparisons with the then City star.
But it is now reported that City have decided to release the 22-year-old Somali born starlet on a free transfer.
But will City live to regret this decision.
Just a couple of months ago and Ibrahim was being linked with the likes of Arsenal, Fulham, Liverpool, Swansea and West Ham - as his loan spell with Stromsgodset in his adopted Norwegian homeland continued to impress suitors - which obviously pleased the player:
"I'm very flattered to be linked with Arsenal, I grew up as an Arsenal fan and my hero was Patrick Vieira when he was playing there. I would be very honoured to play for Arsenal and it would be all my dreams come true to work with Arsene Wenger. We will see what happens in the next couple of months about my future as I'm contracted to Manchester City for another year.’’
But now City are happy to see him move on.
At 22-years-old the time is right for Ibrahim to become a first-team regular somewhere and already the likes of Hull City are being linked with his signature.
Now while his loan spells at Scunthorpe and NEC Nijmegen may not have been overtly impressive his time back in Norway has seen him rated as one of the best players in the league - and many believed City might give him a chance this season.
So what next for Ibrahim?
Well he is certainly rated very highly by many and a move to a Premier League outfit looks likely - even if it is not for someone as illustrious as Arsenal or Liverpool.
Then the task will be putting his talents on show and demonstrating to City why it was a mistake to let him go.
He is tailor made for Premier League football. Quick, fit, strong and technically dangerous he is genuine box-to-box midfielder - who, given the right chances, could be a Premier League stalwart.
And leave egg on the face of the City hierarchy who let him go.
image: © xoiram42