Champions League football or not at Eastlands next season will have little impact on Manchester City’s spending plans. Expect numerous expensive gifts to be bestowed upon whichever fortunate ‘manager’ has hold of the reins. Along with this something resembling a car boot sale where what appears to be useless rubbish actually turns out to be a rather good investment. The Manchester City fire sale will begin this summer, but which teams are most likely to be able to pick up a bargain? Liverpool, Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Sunderland and Newcastle United will be monitoring the situation closely.
I rate Stephen Ireland, rather highly. His ability to surge into the box and get amongst the goals time and time again reminds me of a young Paul Scholes. This season with a lack of opportunities under Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City midfielder has not performed to the standard he set himself last year. Spending his time warming the bench is not really an option for a player of his quality. Understandably Manchester City will spend money in the summer, most likely on a creative force in the central midfield position and Stephen Ireland’s time is most likely to be up. Expect anywhere around £8 million mark for his services. So who would and should take a punt? I think Liverpool could do a lot worse than acquire Ireland’s services. Take the strain and reliance off Steven Gerrard somewhat. I also believe with Birmingham City’s new found wealth the 23 yr old Irishman could bring some real class to their squad. Expect Sunderland and even Aston Villa to show an interest. An £8 million fee would probably be steep for newly promoted Newcastle United.
The talented youngster appears to be on his way out at Manchester City after a series of injury problems and lack of fitness. Having broken into the first team in 2007, Michael Johnson was hailed as a future England international prospect. An abdominal injury that ruled him out for almost a year was followed up by a knee problem which has kept him in the treatment room for the majority of the season. Undoubtedly talented and crying out for a fresh start to get his career back on track, a move is likely. Martin O’Neill’s preference for young English players may see Aston Villa enquire for the 22 year old. Especially upon the news that Fabian Delph will be out for up to 8 months. Newcastle United has had numerous bids in the past for Michael Johnson turned down and their interest may be reignited. I’m not so sure they should gamble on a player with a history of injuries considering how important this season is for them. Birmingham City could offer solace to young Johnson with regular game time.
Another player I rate highly, Martin Petrov has been used sparingly by Manchester City since being bought out by Abu Dhabi. Despite his advancing years, Petrov who is 31 still has pace in abundance and one hell of a left foot on him. With the appeared move for Angel Di Maria in the pipeline at Eastlands, I expect the Bulgarian international will be moved on. Due to his age and City’s lack of interest in holding on to him to gain a sizeable fee, its most like Petrov will be available for a steal. So who should sign him up? Most certainly Sunderland could use his raw pace along with Birmingham City. Tottenham Hotspur have had mooted interest in the winger, yet given the midfield they now boast this appears to have cooled. Stoke City would do well to acquire his services to complement Matthew Etherington and add a little more flair to their game.
The 23 yr old former England under 21 international is at a cross roads in his career. Clearly Onuoha is valuable commodity given his ability to play across the whole of the back line. Yet his little use by manager Roberto Mancini or former boss Mark Hughes has led the centre back to rethink his future. With Manchester City spending big next season on some defensive reinforcements Nedum Onuoha is going to find himself further down the pecking order. Newcastle United could profit from his discontent at Eastlands and make a very good acquisition for the Geordies. Furthermore Sunderland’s incredibly poor defensive record this season could be sharpened up with Onuoha. Other likely candidates include Birmingham City and West Ham United.
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