Player to watch next season: John Guidetti at Man City
More involved Man City fans could be forgiven for thinking this story had been written 12 months ago, but after enduring a season in hell during the 2012/13 campaign John Guidetti could be ready to resume his path to the big time.
Guidetti’s has been a picturesque and varied footballing education, having started off in football academies in Kenya – where his father worked on more than one occasion – before signing up with the youth system of greater-Stockholm club Brommapojkarna, from whom he signed for City on a development deal in 2010.
A loan spell at Burnley brought him his first league goal and after a period in which FC Twente thought they had poached the striker, he signed a three-year-professional deal with the Citizens.
He moved to Dutch side Feyenoord on a season-long loan deal in September 2011 and few could have predicted the fireworks that followed.
A penalty on his debut against NAC Breda was merely the beginning, as the young Swede helped himself to 22 goals and nine assists in 24 appearances and he became only the second striker in Eredivisie history to score three consecutive hat-tricks along the way.
One of those came in the high pressure atmosphere of the Netherlands’ Der Klassike against Ajax, helping the Rotterdam outfit to their first win in the fixture for six years.
That performance prompted Feyenoord boss Ronald Koeman to describe him as “phenomenal”, with same footballing authority suggesting “Guidetti can be as good as Ibrahimović in the future”.
However, in April of that glorious season the youngster came down with a virus that affected his nervous system, causing him to lose all feeling in his right leg.
It was nine months before he was even close to making a return to action for parent club Manchester City, but despite being seen warming up with the squad ahead of their 3-0 January win over Stoke, the season passed without a subsequent appearance for the youngster.
At that time assistant manager David Platt insisted Guidetti was still in a period of rehabilitation and bids for his services from the likes of Sunderland came to nothing.
The Black Cats are again thought to be trying to test City’s resolve with regards to holding on to the youngster, with his place amongst the plans of new manager Manuel Pellegrini uncertain.
After Carlos Tevez’s departure to Juventus, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero are arguably the only senior strikers knocking around Eastlands – with the possible exception of perma-loanee/Mark Hughes target Roque Santa Cruz – so he may have a chance of a sizeable helping of first team performances this term unless City bring in two big names.
The Citizens would be foolish to let a player who has already proved himself such a bright talent go to a rival Premier League club on anything other than a loan deal, but providing he’s fit Guidetti showed at Feyenoord that he has the ability to be amongst the goals this season wherever he ends up.
After the appointment of Pellegrini – who guided Malaga to the quarter final stage in 2012/13 – City are 12/1 to lift the Champions League this term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.