All the news, views and transfer rumours from the Etihad this weekend…
Manchester City begin their Premier League campaign tomorrow evening against Newcastle United. While the game comes to soon for the injured Matija Nastasic, Manuel Pellegrini has practically a full squad to choose from, including all four of his summer signings.
If the new boss has a good idea of his first-choice team – if such a thing still exists – we will get the first glimpse of it in just over 24 hours.
One new arrival – Fernandinho – has revealed that he could have been turning out for Tottenham or Chelsea this season.
“I know there were negotiations between Shakhtar and Chelsea,” he said. “I don’t know the details of those talks because I had already started speaking with City.
“There was also a stage a year ago when I spoke to people from Tottenham but nothing came of that.”
The Brazilian midfielder is an outstanding talent and could prove to be one of the signings of the summer. Should he excel, Chelsea and Spurs may wonder what may have been.
Dismissing claims he only moved to the Etihad for money, Fernandinho said, “If I only wanted money and a comfortable life, I would have stayed in Ukraine.
“Of course I will be paid as a professional footballer, but the only thing I am greedy for is success.”
One midfielder who looks set to leave the Blues is Gareth Barry. The England international has been strongly linked with a move to Everton in recent days, with the Express claiming a loan deal may be an option if City are prepared to pay some of the 32-year-old’s wages.
Still with plenty to offer, but unlikely to get much game-time at the Etihad, Barry could be a fantastic piece of business for the Toffees.
Another fantastic, if slightly befuddling transfer, would be that of Radamel Falcao. The Colombian only moved to Monaco this summer, and yet he is already being linked with a move away due to the principality's tax laws.
The former Atletico Madrid frontman is on a colossal, tax-free wage, something players at other Ligue 1 clubs cannot enjoy. The latest reports suggest the French football authorities may fine Monaco up to £75million if they do not off-load their star striker.
This is something the club have since moved to dismiss.
And finally, Pellegrini has been speaking to BT Sport about the new season, and he believes the eventual winners could surprise a few people.
“Normally the same clubs that every year are trying to win the Premier League,” he said. “Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham.
“All of them are important but always, every year, a club has a surprise. Maybe another club can do it this year.”
While City are expected to challenge as much as anyone, the fact that he didn’t mention them suggests they may be the surprise to which he is referring.
image: © geetarchurchy