Friday, 15 June 2012

Rumour Mill - Israeli Exchange at Eastlands?

With the European Championships and more specifically England dominating the back pages, you have to dig a little deeper for transfer rumours this Summer.  Some City fans have suggesting that we have been strangely quiet in the transfer market this year, but I am not so sure that is the case.  It is only June, and during tournament Summers, the majority of business is normally done in July.  That also ignores the fact that had things panned out differently we could already have made one significant signing in Eden Hazard.  On top of that, it is highly likely that we have an offer on the table for Robin Van Persie, and with the Netherlands massively under-performing the player could be making a decision on his future earlier than many expected.

So that is at least 2 deals that we have been involved in, and today we could possibly add a third.  It looks as if it could be one in, one out with regards to Israeli players this Summer, it was announced towards the end of last month that former Barcelona midfielder Gai Assulin would not see his contract at City extended and he was let go.  The 21 year old came to City after being released by the Catalan club 2 years ago, his career in Spain was marred by a string of injuries and when he was returning to fitness towards the end of his first campaign at City he picked up another serious injury playing for the reserves and he has never recovered from that.  A regular starter for the reserves, he has not been near the first team in a League Cup game, let alone the Premier League.  He did spend the end of the year on loan at Brighton and appeared in 7 games, whether they choose to swoop for the tricky winger on a permanent basis remains to be seen.

So whilst Assulin has seen his time at City come to an end it now appears he could be replaced by a compatriot, and that man is 20 year old Nir Biton.  Now that name might seem familiar to some of you, and that would be because the Daily Mail claimed a deal had been done in January, well that was just yet another story they got wrong.  Parts of it were true, he did spend a week on trial with the club, and he trained with the first team at Carrington, however despite murmurings in the press and supposedly impressing the clubs coaching team, he returned to Israel where he plays for MS Ashdod.

The 20 year old made his debut for his club in 2009 when he was 17, and he soon established himself to be one of the brightest talents in Israel, his success for his club has also seen him capped at international level making his debut for the national team in 2010.  At 6'5 it could be easy to assume that his game purely revolves around his physical prowess, but that would be doing the youngster a disservice.  If you are active on twitter, you will be aware of @Doug_mcfc, and how he is a regular at Carrington watching training sessions.  So he is in a good position to comment on the players ability and attributes.  During a couple of training games he commented on the players awareness, touch a good eye for goal, and went on to tell me that he believes the player can definitely have a future in England, maybe not at City, but somewhere in the top flight.

My only concerns revolve around the players age, not that he is too old, but at 20, I don't believe that is a player you would be signing as being 'one for the future', in recent years, players are breaking through at 16/17, so 20 is a relatively 'grown up' age for a Premier League player, so should this deal come off he should be expected to be taking part in first team activities.  If it is going to take him 2 to 3 years to be ready then I don't really see the point in bringing him in, at his age he has to be ready to make an instant impression on the squad.

It is again the Daily Mail that are claiming this deal is close to completion, no price is quoted but back in January the asking price was thought to be around £2million and I can't see it being much more than that now.  Of course the other issues are the work permit and national service, but again in January the players agent released a statement saying neither would be an issue because of the players 'exceptional potential'.

So really it could be a pretty exciting piece of business, other Premier League clubs were seemingly interested but it would appear that we have won out.  So maybe the transfer dealings are about to begin, who is going to be next? Gareth Bale maybe?  Watch this space...

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