MEN: Zabaleta dismisses Inter talk
- 18 January 2016 07:41
- Posted by @Handler_mcfc
Good morning, happy Monday, and welcome to the latest round of our January transfer window media sweep.
Mananger Manuel Pellegrini's insistence that City are happy with their squad seems to be sinking with the scribes judging current levels of speculation, which is down a notch from usual at this time of year.
There are reasons to be cheerful from stalwart Pablo Zabaleta though, who has tackled rumours of interest from abroad with characteristic commitment!
Manchester Evening News' City reporter Stuart Brennan takes up the story: "The Blues hero dismissed talk that he could move to Inter Milan in the January transfer window.
"And he says he hopes to sit down with the club in the summer to discuss a new deal, with his current contract due to expire in 2017.
"Zabaleta celebrated his 31 birthday by making only his third league start of an injury-hit season, but also becoming only third Argentinian to chalk up 200 Premier League appearances, after former City pal Carlos Tevez and Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini.
"Two knee injuries have disrupted his season, but he has no thoughts of leaving City just yet: 'At the end of this season I will have one more year left on my contract. Normally the end of this season will be the time to decide what we will do.
"As a player I think I still have two or three years left to play at the top level, but in football you never know – things change quickly.
"'I am enjoying myself at this great club, and at the end of this season we will have a conversation with the club.
"'It's January, and everything comes from the media about players coming in or going out but I am 100 per cent focussed on City at the moment.
"'I want to finish the season here and am not thinking of going anywhere in January.'”
Elsewhere the Sun say that City are tracking young West Ham centre-back Reece Oxford.
The paper reports: "City scouts have watched the accomplished 17-year-old in his last three Under-21 games.
"And rivals Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are also thought to be monitoring the centre-half’s progress as they look to add valuable home-grown talent to their squads.
"The starlet will have two years left on his contract in the summer and boss Slaven Bilic is desperate to keep him at Upton Park.
"But City are ready to test the Hammers’ mettle with a bid.
"Oxford became the club’s youngest ever player earlier this season when he made his debut, aged 16 years and 198 days, in the Europa League qualifying tie with FC Lusitanos."
Meanwhile Pellegrini has spoken again of just how important striker Sergio Aguero is to the Club's fortunes.
The Argentinian is returning to his devastating best and scored a brace against Crystal Palace at the weekend.
A report in the Daily Mirror reads: "The Argentina international has already missed two-and-a-half months this season with two separate injuries, and Pellegrini admitted the Blues cannot afford to lose him again if they are to win trophies.
“'It’s impossible to replace Sergio,' said manager Pellegrini. 'He’s a top player and it’s very difficult to replace him. I think for every team to replace their top players is very difficult.
“'We can play without Sergio, but of course we’ll be a stronger team with him playing at his best performance level. He’s not a player you can replace so easily. But I hope he will finish the season without any more injuries.'"
And finally, a player City have been linked with during this transfer window - Everton's John Stones - is now reportedly attracting the attention of Barcelona.
"Barcelona sent a scout to watch John Stones at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as they step up their bid to sign the Everton centre back," according to the Daily Mail.
"The Spanish champions have been monitoring Stones’s progress since last season and sporting director Roberto Fernandez has received glowing reports.
"The 21-year-old has been outstanding this season following a troubled summer when Everton steadfastly refused to sell to Chelsea despite offers of £38million and the player asking to leave
"Manager Roberto Martinez justified the decision this week saying that Stones has benefited further from playing regularly in Everton’s first team.
"Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Real Madrid are also interested in the elegant defender though Everton remain firm that they will not sell in January."
We'll have more gossip and speculation for you tomorrow!