Manchester City Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of December 16
It's been quite a few days for Manchester City supporters—a pulsating 6-3 win over the Premier League leaders was followed by a Champions League pairing with Barcelona in the last 16.
Meanwhile, the transfer window is getting closer, and City's eyes are turning to the possibility of new faces arriving at the Etihad Stadium next month.
Follow all the transfer gossip and speculation for Manuel Pellegrini's team here.
Latest update: December 21
Lionel Messi Criticism of Barcelona Director Puts City 'On Alert'
It might have sounded fanciful previously, but the Lionel Messi to Manchester City rumour gathered some momentum after the Argentina star criticised Barcelona economic vice-president Javier Faus, reports Paul Handler of the Manchester Evening News.
The link may still be tenuous, but Messi's words indicate that there may be a problem brewing ahead between the player and the La Liga giants, according to Antony Kastrinakis of The Sun (subscription required).
According to Handler, Messi was quoted as telling Catalan radio RAC1 from Argentina:
Barcelona is the best club in the world and should be represented by the best board members too.
Senor [Javier] Faus is someone who doesn't know anything about football and wants to manage Barcelona like a business, which it is not.
Manchester City Reported Target Victor Valdes Has 'Offers on Table'
Another Barcelona star being linked with Manchester City is goalkeeper Victor Valdes, reports TalkSport.com.
The Spain international will leave the Camp Nou at the end of the current La Liga season, and when asked about his future, Valdes is quoted as saying:
It depends on many things. There are many factors that I have to respect.
I will not say anything important where it might have a negative affect on my team.
There are things on the table, but nothing is decided. I cannot say anything.
There are things to be decided in due course.
Manchester City Linked with Villarreal Defender Mateo Musacchio
The Argentinian has been in excellent form this season, helping the team to secure five clean sheets in La Liga action so far this year.
However, Harvey also warns that City and Chelsea may also face competition from Barcelona in the chase for Musacchio to replace veteran Carles Puyol.
Real Madrid Goalkeeper Iker Casillas 'Offered' to City and Arsenal
The 32-year-old has been sidelined in favour of Diego Lopez this season under Carlo Ancelotti, after being dropped initially by Jose Mourinho during the last La Liga campaign.
According to the report, Casillas is concerned at the situation at Real, and he fears his lack of matches will jeopardise his hopes of playing for Spain at the World Cup finals in Brazil.
Juventus, Inter Milan and Zenit Chasing Aleksandar Kolarov
The 28-year-old, who joined City from Lazio for £19 million in 2010, has already voiced a desire to return to Italy one day.
And now City are bracing themselves for a transfer move for the Serbia international from the Serie A clubs and Zenit when the transfer window reopens.
City Midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim Is Reported Transfer Target for Swansea
The 22-year-old Norway Under-21 international has failed to make an impact on the City first team, and Reading and Queens Park Rangers have also been credited with an interest in the player, claims Cross.
Ibrahim, who is currently on loan with Stromsgodset in Norway, would be available for a training-compensation fee of around £250,000 after progressing through the youth teams at the Etihad Stadium since 2007.
Nigerian Starlet Kelechi Iheanacho Targets Manchester City Transfer
The 17-year-old was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Under-17 World Cup earlier this year, and Nigeria head coach Stephen Keshi has revealed he has excused Iheanacho from training so he can negotiate his move:
Initially a young man came declaring that he was the agent of Iheanacho, but I declined to deal with him until I heard from the family because the boy is still a minor, he said.
It was soon after my rejection that I got a call from his father who told me that they have got a travelling visa to the United Kingdom and that I should oblige him with his son's release.
I did and told the young man to go and do the nation proud at whichever club he finally chooses to settle down with.
According to the Daily Star article, Iheanacho's father, James, revealed City were the team his family wanted him to sign for:
We prayed and, after talks with family members, we came up with Manchester City, believing he has a future there.
Manchester City Sign 'New Peter Schmeichel'
Manchester City have signed goalkeeper Kjetil Haug from Norwegian club Sarpsborg ahead of Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United, reports Colin Harvey of the Daily Star.
Harvey reports that the 15-year-old Haug has been dubbed the "new Peter Schmeichel," and he will join City in the summer, according to the Norwegian club's official website Sarpsborg08.no:
Kjetil Haug has signed an agreement with Manchester City.
Sarpsborg 08 wishes to verify the information referred to in the media related to two points.
1: Kjetil Haug has signed an agreement with Manchester City FC. 2: Kjetil Haug is scheduled to travel to England about 1/7/2014.
Stoke City Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic Plays Down Manchester City Link
Both City and the Gunners have been linked with a move for the 26-year-old in January, according to the article.
However, Begovic is unfazed by the speculation, according to quotes from the goalkeeper in the report:
I don't pay much attention to it (the speculation).
I take it as a huge compliment if people are saying nice things but there’s a pressure to keep performing so I have to concentrate on my job each and every day.