CITY SPECIAL BIG GUNS ARE NOT ABOARD FOR TOUR
CITY’S squad flew out to Houston this week for the start of their USA tour... minus some big names.
The Blues have travelled ahead of their clash with United in the early hours of Friday morning, which will be the first Manchester derby ever played outside England.
And while most of the big guns were on the flight from Manchester Airport, it was the omissions which sparked most of the interest.
And with City not confirming the names in their tour party, and not covering the departure extensively themselves, plenty of fuel has been thrown on the rumour fires.
Samir Nasri, Eliaquim Mangala and Jason Denayer, all surplus to requirements, were unexpectedly on the flight, but Wilfried Bony, in the same boat, was not
So who wasn’t on the plane, and who was?
LEROY SANE and YAYA TOURE were both conspicuous by their absence, both key members of the City squad last season.
With Toure, last season’s stand-off between his agent Dmitri Seluk and manager Pep Guardiola – which resulted in him being banned from matchday squads for two months – will always lead to speculation.
But we understand that both players will fly out separately from the main party either today or Wednesday, for mundane reasons. KELECHI IHEANACHO The striker is expected to leave this summer with Leicester favourites to land him in a £25m move, so his absence is no great surprise. JADON SANCHO The 17-year-old is tipped for greatness but, while his youth team colleagues Brahim Diaz and Phil Foden were on the plane, Sancho was not spotted.
That fuelled the talk that he may want to leave for Arsenal or Spurs, but he trained with the first team squad all last week and City sources say it is 100 per cent certain he will stay. NICOLAS OTAMENDI Mystery has surrounded the Argentina defender after he was not involved in City’s first week of training.
But he will also travel in the next couple of days, via a different route, for reasons unknown. FERNANDO City have maintained that he will only be sold this summer if a decent offer comes in.
Newcastle have been interested but their £5m valuation appeared to have fallen short – but his absence from the flight indicates that a move is afoot. FABIAN DELPH The Yorkshireman was placed on the unwanted list at the start of the summer and has attracted interest from Newcastle and Stoke, with a £12m fee mooted.
He appears to have been left at home, with a deal possibly being done in the next fortnight. CLAUDIO BRAVO The goalkeeper will not take part in the tour after his penalty shoot-out heroics saw Chile go all the way to the Confederations Cup final earlier this month.
The Blues have taken new boy Ederson, plus back-ups Danny Grimshaw and Aro Muric. BERNARDO SILVA The £43m new boy will also miss the tour as he was in the Portugal team which reached the semi- ●● finals of the Confederations Cup and is due back in training at the end of the month. WILFRIED BONY Another of the players with a price tag round his neck – whether his omission is down to a deal being close, with Swansea, Lille and Chinese Super League clubs interested, is not clear.
PROBABLE CITY TOUR PARTY - Keepers: Ederson, Grimshaw, Muric.
Defenders: Walker, Stones, Kompany, Otamendi, Kolarov, Denayer, Mangala, Adarabioyo.
Midfield: Zinchenko, Nasri, Roberts, Sterling, Gundogan, De Bruyne, D. Silva, Foden, Diaz, Fernandinho, Toure, Sane.
Forwards: Jesus, Aguero
City boss Pep Guardiola is ready for take off