Kelechi Iheanacho could save Manchester City a bundle of cash this summer, as the Nigerian striker has reportedly rejected a loan move, preferring instead to fight for a role in the attacking line-up of the English Premier League club. Iheanacho, hero of Nigeria’s triumph at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, has had a frustrating season since joining the Blues, waiting for a work permit, and then getting injured five minutes into his first game in the youth ranks.
But after a couple of months on the sidelines, he is now back in action, and marked his full debut with a goal in the FA Youth Cup final second leg defeat at Chelsea, and then bagged the winner in City’s win against Porto the inaugural International Premier League Cup.
The 18-year-old has indeed looked the part for City, ever since he turned out for the first team on their pre-season tour and scored against Sporting Kansas in a performance that caused manager Manuel Pellegrini to describe him as “a very important player for us in the future”.
Now the youth prodigy, who looks ready both in terms of physicality and ability and looks like a player who would thrive from playing with better senior players, wants to fight for shirts with likes of Man City’s first choice striker Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic.
“He has refused to go on loan to a less fancied club so that he can have more playing time,” said one of his representatives. “He has told City he would rather battle the senior players for a place in the first team.”
“His colleague, Chidiebere Nwakali, opted for a loan move away to Malaga because his management team believe he has to gain experience outside the club before he could really challenge for a place in the City main team,” added the source who did not want his name in print because he was not authorized to speak on the issue.
Iheanacho, findings reveal, may be given an opportunity to prove his worth in City’s first team after all, as Jovetic was said to be set to end his unhappy two years at the club, and Dzeko available for sale after a desperately poor season.
The permutation is that if City could gather in decent fees for Jovetic and Dzeko, and buy one striker, completing the complement of four from their youth ranks (I the shape of Iheanacho) would be a great solution.