The injury to tricky winger Adam Johnson happened so late in the window there wasn’t much time for City to find any cover. Reports linking the club with Birmingham midfielder Sebastian Larsson didn’t lead to anything, but according to press reports coming from Belgium, City did make a deadline day move for young winger Yassine El Ghanassy.
The 20 year old Belgian’s potential is admired by many at City and they identified him as someone who could play in Johnson’s absence and then offer cover upon the English mans return giving the Belgian time to fulfill his promise.
El Ghanassy, son of former footballer Hajjaj El Ghanassy, had trials at Birmingham City in 2006 when he was a youth player, and although he impressed the club a deal could not be agreed to move him to the midlands. He eventually made his debut in Belgian football in 2008 playing for third divsion team La Louviere, however he was not at the club for long.
He made 6 appearances for the team before he was snapped up by top flight team AA Gent. Initially part of the youth team, he made his Jupiler Pro League debut in 2009. He is comfortable playing up front or alternatively on the wing, preferably the left. A more creative player with an eye for a pass than a goal scorer he has scored 4 league goals in 47 appearences but has laid on many assists.
City failed to land the youngster on the final day of the January transfer window, but they remain confident that they can secure his signiture over the Summer. The player has been quoted as saying:
‘I’m not disappointed it didn’t get pushed through. I think there is now an agreement with Manchester City for me to move in the summer. We will have to see if that works out.’
The Eastlands club claim that no deal is in place yet, but that they will be interesting in talking with the player when the current season is over. El Ghanassy, who is expected to make his Belgian debut this evening, has been watched by numerous clubs this season including Everton, AC Milan, Sunderland and Lyon.
Should City face competition for the highly regarded youngster the presence of fellow young Belgian Dedryck Boyata and the more experienced Vincent Kompany might go a long way to persuade El Ghanassy to make the switch to Eastlands over the other possible rivals.
Bobby Manc would be crazy to sign someone who would force Adam Johnson out of the first team picture upon his return from injury and the move for a young prospect like El Ghanassy would probably be the best option, he can learn from the current squad and provide support to the current wingers on City’s books.
A transfer policy shifting towards future prospects to build a squad capable of lasting years is better than cherry picking the best current players, it will cost the club less money which will help them meet the upcoming Financial Fair Play regulations and would also aid team spirit.
El Ghanassy is a good prospect and the City faithful generally take to exciting wingers, so I think this could be a signing that would suit everyone – the player also has a penchant for the snood so I don’t think there is a better fit than City!
Fancy even more transfer rumours? @SoccerCityJoe on twitter is the place to go!
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