Is this the ‘new Kinkladze’ Manchester City fans have been waiting for?

Georgi Kinkladze

Valeri Kazaishvili has impressed for the Georgia national team and Vitesse Arnhem in recent times, prompting comparisons with a Sky Blues cult hero.

Manchester City fans did not have a lot to celebrate in the years running from 1995 through to 1998, with the Sky Blues suffering relegation from the Premier League during that period.

But one of the few positive abiding memories of the time remains the presence of cult Georgian hero Georgi Kinkladze in the City midfield.

Signed from Dinamo Tbilisi, the eastern European playmaker immediately impressed at Maine Road with a series of virtuoso performances and goals in an otherwise bleak chapter in the history of the club.

One of the few star performers during the relegation season of 1995-96, his highlights included a delightful first goal against Aston Villa following a one-two with striker Niall Quinn and a superb solo effort in a 2-1 win over Southampton that won the Match of the Day Goal of the Month award.

All told he managed 20 goals in 106 league appearances while at City, before moving on to Holland with Ajax.

A cult figure throughout his time at the club, Manchester City fans must have assumed they would never see a player of the Georgian’s ilk in the game again.

But those of the Sky Blue persuasion may want to re-evaluate that point of view if the form of Valeri Kazaishvili is anything to go by.

A 22-year-old attacking midfielder who plays regularly for the Georgia national team and Dutch Eredivisie upstarts Vitesse Arnhem, the attacker’s goals and all-round displays have prompted obvious comparisons with the Manchester City favourite.

Something of a regular for the Netherlands club, Kazaishvili has been in superb form this season, scoring a career-best nine goals in 33 league starts this term.

It’s all part of what is proving to be a breakthrough season for the youngster, who also netted his first goal for Georgia in a 2-0 friendly win over Malta last month.

Known for his dribbling skills and ability to shoot from distance, Kazaishvili was among the goals for Vitesse in the Eredivisie last weekend, netting a brace in a 3-0 win over Dordrecht.

A capable passer who remains something of a diamond in the rough, a move to Manchester City may not be on the cards just yet, but don’t be surprised to see the 22-year-old starring at a big-name European side at some point in the near future.

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