Manchester City have been on the look out for a centre midfielder ever since Roberto Mancini took charge at Eastlands. After being turned away in a bid to lure Fernando Gago to City, the Italian tactician has turned his attention to Parma starlet McDonald Mariga; the midfielder has been a revelation in Italy and has attracted interest from a number of English clubs already in his career.
The Kenyan international played for a number of teams in his homeland, including Pipeline FC. He was then brought over to Sweden to play for Enköpings SK in the third tier of Swedish football. His performances here attracted the attention of a major club, Helsingborgs IF. Taking a two division jump did not faze Mariga as he continued to churn out excellent performances. This did not go unnoticed, the then Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp was close to bringing him to Fratton Park before work permit issues scuppered the deal.
Parma then stepped up their interest and signed Mariga initially on loan for the 2007/08 season while the club were in Serie B. The Kenyan made an instant impact with his no nonsense box-to-box style that earned him a permanent deal that cost around £2 million. His magnificent performances eventually helped Parma win back promotion to Serie A in 2009. He also attracted interest from bigger teams in Italy, AC Milan being one of them.
The step up was not an issue for Mariga; he continued his form from the previous year. He is somewhat of a midfield destroyer with a fantastic engine, playing box-to-box he can take control of a match and he has been compared to Patrick Vieira in playing style, the comparison may have more to do with his 6”2 inch frame more than anything.
Given his style of play he would surely have no problems adapting to the Premier League and a €10 million price tag will be pocket change to a team like Manchester City.
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