311_gai assulin for Manchester City.
(photo credit: Manchester City website)
Gai Assulin completed his move to Manchester City on Monday, signing a two-and-a-half year deal with Roberto Mancini’s team.
The 19-year-old joins the club from Barcelona, where he made 67 appearances for the B team over the last three years.
Assulin, who left Israel for Barcelona as a 13-year-old, made just one appearance for the senior Barca team in a Copa del Rey match, and will likely also have to settle for a place in the City reserves.
However, the attacking midfielder – who became the youngest player capped for Israel two weeks before his 17th birthday in March 2008 – is excited about having the chance to play in the Premier League and prove his worth after finally putting pen to paper following two months of training at the club.
“I hope to show I can play at this level,” he told the official Manchester City web site. “I had heard a lot about City, and as soon as I saw the club I wanted to stay. I’m at a great club and I hope to be here a long time. I have to take my opportunity and learn every day in training.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City is also finding that becoming the richest club in English football brings problems as well as perks, with Carlos Tevez asking for a new contract and now a transfer.
Tevez said Sunday that he wants to leave after falling out with club officials, but City hinted its key player is demanding a transfer because his repeated requests for a new contract have been turned down.
Tevez’s arrival in July 2009 was heralded as a significant step in owner Sheikh Mansour’s attempt to build a side capable of overhauling the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League.
Lucrative contracts and the prospect of honors tempted world-class players including David Silva and Yaya Toure into following Tevez to City, and the club only narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification last season.
City has already said its vast wealth means clubs, players and agents feel able to demand higher fees and better terms than they would from other sides.
And now – in a move reminiscent of Wayne Rooney’s recent standoff with Manchester United over his contract – its highest paid player may be doing the same.
Less than three weeks before the January transfer window opens, Manchester City said that it had refused Tevez’s written request to be sold to another club in what it implied was a move motivated by his desire for an improved deal.
“The club remains disappointed by this situation and particularly with the actions of Carlos’s representative,” City said in a statement. “The written transfer request is in stark contrast to Carlos’ stated position in both public and club contexts.
“Significantly, over recent months, the club has also received numerous requests from Carlos’s representative to renegotiate and improve his playing contract as well as more recently a request to extend that contract by another year.”
Tevez has 31⁄2 years remaining on the five-year contract he signed after leaving Manchester United last year, which City said makes him its best paid player.
That contradicts widespread media reports that his teammate Yaya Toure attained that status when he signed from Barcelona in July.
But Tevez responded with a statement of his own, railing against the club’s criticism of his agent and blaming club officials for his unhappiness.
“I hugely resent the management’s suggestions that I have been unduly influenced by others,” Tevez said. “I wanted to leave in the summer, but was convinced to return to the club.
Sadly, my feelings have not changed. I am disappointed that the management should now see fit to try to portray the situation in another light.
“My relationship with certain executives and individuals at the club has broken down and is now beyond repair.”
But Tevez said his relationship with City manager Roberto Mancini was
cordial, despite the pair exchanging angry words on the touchline
against Bolton last week when Tevezwas irked by a decision to substitute
him after he had scored the only goal.
British newspapers reported that Tevez had clashed repeatedly with
Mancini over what he perceives as the manager’s negative tactics and
misses his young family in Argentina.
Tevez has scored 39 goals in 17 months with City. He scored 23 of its 63 Premier League goals last season.