Alvaro Negredo today announced that he is likely to be on the side lines for a least a couple of months after breaking his metatarsal. It’s a blow which leaves City sweating on the fitness of their strikers well before the season has started.
Sergio Aguero has been plagued by injuries in 2014 whereas they are an almost permanent asterisk against Stevan Jovetic’s name. Edin Dzeko is City’s only consistently fit striker and it looks as if the Bosnian could be over relied upon when the season starts in August if Aguero and Jovetic’s recent injury woes continue.
Some City fans may see this as an ideal opportunity to introduce 22 year old Swede, John Guidetti, into the fold. On the face of it, it seems like a good move. After all, he is an Academy product full of self-belief and potential who is champing at the bit to prove himself for the club he joined as a 16 year old. Nothing quite like a home grown player in the first team captures the imagination of supporters and he has the potential to be a fan favourite. But can Manuel Pellegrini really rely on the young Swede to deliver?
Well, not really it seems.
Ever since Guidetti’s successful loan spell at Dutch side Feyenoord in 2011 where he scored 20 goals in 23 appearances he has become as synonymous with injuries as Stevan Jovetic. A mysterious, debilitating virus ensured his career regressed dramatically just as it looked like he was going to establish himself and he missed an entire season of football as a result. Despite working his way back to fitness in City’s Elite Development Squad at the beginning of last season, Pellegrini never seemed willing to take a chance on him despite a number of opportunities in lower profile League Cup games.
He was then loaned out to Stoke City in January for the remainder of the season but only managed six substitute appearances. It was nothing short of disastrous for Guidetti and called into question how fit he really was. If Mark Hughes is reluctant to take a chance on him it is unlikely that Pellegrini will, especially given the options that the City boss has at his disposal. He could play one up front with Silva or Nasri in behind and there is always the option of pushing Toure further forward to support attacks. One would imagine that Pellegrini will stick to players he knows he can trust before taking a chance on Guidetti.
For obvious reasons, City’s academy has been somewhat overlooked in recent years as the club has been transformed into a title winning side. The club’s plans for the Etihad Campus revolve entirely around the development of youth players that can represent the club at the highest level but these things take time to bear fruit. Whether John Guidetti can buck the recent trend and break into the first team remains to be seen. Whilst some may see this as the ideal time to do so, the concerns around his fitness mean that City fans may have to wait that little bit longer before then see an Academy player in the first team eleven again.
Written by Rob Toole who is on Twitter