Newsletter #818

A quiet issue today, though there is the big news that the Anelka deal has finally been completed. Not much in the way of City players in World Cup action since Monday, with neither Sun Jihai nor Paulo Wanchope lasting the full ninety minutes of their sides’ encounter on Tuesday morning, and Richard Dunne, Lucien Mettomo and Niclas Jensen all being unused substitutes in their sides’ latest games.

Heidi will be back in charge from Monday’s edition; articles to the usual address ( please.

Next game: to be announced


World Cup News

Sun Jihai and Paulo Wanchope are the only City players that have been in World Cup action since Monday, and neither lasted the full ninety minutes of their game, which Costa Rica won 2-0. Sun took a knock on the left ankle from Costa Rica’s Mauricio Solis after about 20 minutes and spent 5 minutes trying to run it off before being substituted. He has already been ruled out of Saturday’s game against Brazil and may not be fit for the final game against Turkey either, in which case his World Cup will almost certainly be over given that Brazil and Turkey look to be the two best sides in the group. Chinese team doctor Yin Yuhua described the injury as “serious”. Paulo Wanchope won his 50th cap against China but was substituted after 80 minutes, though this was to rest him since he still hasn’t recovered to full fitness yet.

Some of the names linked with City recently have been in action, with the USA’s DaMarcus Beasley having a particularly good game in their 3-2 win over highly-rated Portugal. Cameroon’s Marc-Vivien Foe played in Cameroon’s 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia and Matt Holland played for the Republic of Ireland in their dramatic 1-1 draw with Germany.

Anelka Deal Done

Kevin Keegan has confirmed that the £13 million deal to bring Nicolas Anelka to Maine Road has been concluded, with Anelka contracted to the Blues until June 2007. Alioune Toure has moved in the opposite direction to Paris St Germain. The Blues’ boss said: “It’s a fantastic signing for us. Nicolas is a quality player and we’re lucky to have him. We have made a number of signings this summer but Distin and Anelka are the two I am really excited about.” Not surprisingly, he also said that Anelka would be his first choice forward for next season, and also that he had no plans to let any of his other main strikers (i.e. Goater, Wanchope, Huckerby and Macken), leave the club despite the recent signings of Anelka and Vuoso, who, according to the City boss, will add “a new dimension”.

The delay in Anelka’s signing was in fact due to PSG having to wait for the results of a medical on deep vein thrombosis sufferer Alioune Toure, who had been away on honeymoon in Senegal. Toure made only two appearances for City and was on the losing side both times, 2-0 at Blackburn in the Worthington Cup and the 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Wimbledon. Deputy chairman John Wardle said of Toure, “we, like PSG, rate him very highly. He is certainly a good young player, one for the future but it is not every day that someone of Anelka’s quality comes available.” Toure’s value in the deal was £1 million.

Other Transfer News and Gossip

Kevin Keegan has told BBC GMR that the hunt for the man he wants is almost over, with a deal all but done. Of course, he’s not naming names but the smart money is on either Marc-Vivien Foe or Matt Holland. Having said that, it appears that the reports linking City with Brazilian superstar Juninho were not as fanciful as I thought, as AS reports that he had an offer from City on the table but turned it down and will instead see out his contract with Atletico Madrid following their promotion. Juninho has been playing for past two seasons on loan in Brazil with Vasco da Gama and Flamengo. He said “I am very happy to be returning to Atletico”.

Marc-Vivien Foe has been playing down the transfer speculation without actually denying anything. The told the MEN, “I am well aware of City’s interest but this is not the time to start talking about my club career. I want to help Cameroon progress in the tournament as far as we can possibly go. My own future will take care of itself in the fullness of time.”

City continue to be linked with a move for Ipswich Town midfielder Matt Holland, although they are reported to face competition from Leeds United. The Republic of Ireland international could be on his way to Elland Road if transfer-listed Lee Bowyer leaves the club. The Ipswich captain has also been linked with Everton and Charlton, but so far the relegated Tractor Boys claim to have not received a single bid for the 28-year-old Holland.

Defender Paul Ritchie is now reported to be interesting Burnley, though the fee mentioned of £300,000 would probably not be enough to secure the Scot’s services. City paid £500,000 to Rangers for Ritchie in August 2000. Clarets’ boss Stan Ternent is a fan of Ritchie and is expected to try to add him to his squad soon.

Paul Howarth (


These comments date back to March but are interesting nonetheless. Nicolas Anelka’s omission from the French World Cup squad came as a great surprise to many people, so here’s what French coach Roger Lemerre and Anelka’s former mentor Arsene Wenger had to say about it:

Lemerre said the omission was due to the player’s unpredictable personality: “He really needs to realise what planet he’s on. I gave Anelka every chance. With Djibril Cisse, I know exactly what I have.” Cisse, rising star of French football, was preferred to Anelka and lined up in the squad alongside fellow strikers Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord, David Trezeguet and Christophe Dugarry.

Arsene Wenger’s opinion differed: “It’s amazing. Ninety per cent of countries dream about having a player like him in their World Cup squad. He has so much to offer. He has great technique and seems to be focusing his game once again on the things that made him exceptional. That is his pace, his ability to power through defences and his ferocious shot. Some people think he plays with too much nonchalance, but I am convinced he has the will to succeed,” Wenger told L’Equipe.

Wenger’s admiration for Anelka is apparently reciprocated; Anelka was reported to have admitted in January that he regretted walking out of Arsenal three years ago: “It would have been easier to have stayed and continued the progress I’d made under Arsene Wenger. It’s easy to look back on Arsenal with a great deal of happiness because I had a very understanding coach who played to my strengths,” he added.

Quotes from

Paul Howarth (


The weekend saw my country, South Africa, play Paraguay in the World Cup. To my delight we earned (maybe luckily) a penalty in the 90th minute. Our penalty taker? “Mr Red”, Quinton Fortune. My son, a Fulham fan, turned to me and said “This should be fun dad, you have to pray the Red gets it”. So I did, and he did get it. Needless to say, there was much celebrating as we drew 2 all. Apologies to all my Blue friends around the world, it won’t happen again (I hope).

Justin Arthur (


A bit sad I know, but I just wanted to thank Manchester City Football Club for having the sense to release the new End of Season DVD as a region free DVD (Region 0).

It shows real forward thinking on behalf of the club, knowing that the support base goes well beyond the British Isles. And therefore into other DVD regions.

I panicked when my wife pointed out that Australasia is DVD Region 4 and Europe is Region 2. I had already ordered the DVD by that point!

Anyway, I have watched the DVD, which is excellent, and I am looking forward to next season.

I only managed to get to the UK to see the Rotherham and Bradford wins and after watching the DVD it’s like looking at a totally new City, as was my impression at the live games.

As KK said, “A great time to be a City fan.”

CTID, a Manc/Blue Down Under, Andrew Frodsham – Sydney, Australia (


Considering the Effenberg thing, I assume Keegan would be keen on signing an experienced midfielder.

Well, here in Italy a certain Roberto Baggio just wants to play another season. His dream is to play at least in the UEFA Cup, and Brescia, his current club, are struggling to keep him for another year. He must be 34 I suppose, he’s very delicate and he got injured twice last season. But he worked so hard to recover and he was ready for the World Cup, even though he hasn’t been picked.

The thing is that the idea of seeing him play with Eyal and Ali just thrills me to death.

Vanes Marzaroli (

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Newsletter #818