R.J. Allen, Tommy McNamara, Patrick Mullins, Kwadwo Poku and Tony Taylor all reportedly flew to Manchester on Wednesday to link up with the Premier League side during the final weeks of the MLS offseason, with Allen taking to Twitter to confirm his impending arrival at the Etihad Campus.
to Manchester. Looking forward to the opportunity. 2016 is going to be a special year— RJ Allen (@RJallen21) January 7, 2016
None of the players are being eyed as transfer or loan options, with their training stints merely for experience and fitness purposes, but Poku is certainly the most intriguing name making the trip.
The 23-year-old Ghanaian midfielder was a relatively unknown commodity when he first joined NYCFC from the Atlanta Silverbacks of NASL last winter ahead of the club’s inaugural season, but he proceeded to establish himself as one of the top prospects in MLS over the course of the 2015 campaign.
Despite only making six starts in 27 regular season appearances, the youngster quickly became a fan favourite at Yankee Stadium for his impactful performances, as he recorded four goals and the second-most assists on the team with seven – one behind skipper David Villa.
His eye-catching displays even earned him his senior international debut in a 1-1 friendly draw with Canada in October, when he replaced Aston Villa striker Jordan Ayew for the final eight minutes of the match.
A physical but skilful two-way midfielder, with a touch of creativity and nose for goal, it is certainly not out of the question that he could eventually move to England on a full-time basis given his perceived Premier League potential.
Unsurprisingly, plenty of comparisons have been made to City’s Yaya Toure, and while the 6ft 1in powerhouse obviously has a long way to go to emulate his idol, he now has a head coach in Patrick Vieira who should know how to get the best out of him.