Manchester City transfer news: Sergio Aguero injury could lead to Manuel Pellegrini to buy reinforcements

The Manchester City manager admits he is mystified by the rash of injuries afflicting his squad

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The Independent Football

Manuel Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager, is to investigate the spate of muscle injuries that threaten to undermine the champions’ return to form.

City, who will find out who they play early next year in the first knock-out round of the Champions League today, may have to play through the Christmas programme without a recognised senior striker and their captain after a costly 1-0 victory over Premier League bottom side Leicester on Saturday.

The club’s only fit striker, Edin Dzeko, suffered a calf muscle injury in the warm-up before Vincent Kompany pulled up with a recurrence of a hamstring problem late in the second half. Both are unlikely to be fit before the new year and join forwards Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic on the casualty list.

Their absences will leave sizeable gaps at both ends of the field and Pellegrini wants to find out if there is an underlying cause, although the Chilean will not make excuses.

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Frank Lampard taps the ball past goalkeeper Ben Hamer

“We must find a reason,” said Pellegrini, whose side have won seven games in succession. “It is very unlucky to have the three strikers out with injuries but we must try to solve the problem and play another way, or keep a clean sheet. It is difficult because we have to play a lot of games during the last days of December, but I never complain about the players who cannot play.”

Kompany had been making his comeback after a three-game absence with a hamstring injury. Dzeko had only recently returned from a four-game lay-off with a calf strain, while Jovetic has had niggly hamstring issues in recent weeks and aggravated them in Wednesday’s Champions League win at Roma. Full-back Aleksandar Kolarov missed all City’s games last month with a calf injury.

Teenage striker Jose Angel Pozo was drafted into the side at the King Power Stadium at the last moment and the lack of current alternatives could force City into the transfer market next month. Pellegrini said: “In January we will see, it is an option. I think our squad must always be strong.”

Another looming problem is the loss of Yaya Touré to the African Nations Cup next month. That is likely to mean Pellegrini will press harder to extend the loan of Frank Lampard. The midfielder again proved City’s chief inspiration and was their match-winner at Leicester, scoring the only goal – his sixth for the club – five minutes before half-time. The 36-year-old’s loan from sister club New York City expires at the end of the month and Pellegrini wants him to stay longer. He also said after the game that Lampard himself also wanted to stay on.

 

“That is why he is now on the team but he would not stay with us because we have injured strikers,” said Pellegrini. “He would stay with us because he is a very important player.”

Leicester’s director of football Terry Robinson left the club last night but manager Nigel Pearson retains the faith of the club despite a slump in results. It is understood the decision is based purely on footballing reasons and Robinson appears to have paid the price for an ineffective summer transfer window.

Of the 10 arrivals in the summer only three – Esteban Cambiasso, Danny Simpson and Ben Hamer – started on Saturday, and Hamer was only in the side because of injury to Kasper Schmeichel.

Robinson was appointed by the Foxes in July 2013 with a remit “to provide strategic input to the club’s football operations at all levels”.

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