Window gives City stalwarts worrying view of the future

Fulham 1 Manchester City 1

Fabio Capello was in the crowd but it was not just the Englishmen who were undergoing auditions at Craven Cottage on Saturday. The High Streets are counting down the shopping days to Christmas but at Manchester City they are looking a week further ahead, to New Year's Day and the opening of the transfer window.

City insist most of the stellar names linked with the club are purely speculative. Given the improbability of prising the likes of Iker Casillas or Lionel Messi away from their clubs mid-season – and who believes these millionaires would join a middling English club's quest for a Uefa Cup place just for a pay rise? – their denials are unlikely to be disproved. City will be one of the window's major players. It is just that their recruits are unlikely to be the marquee signings the owners hanker after. For the player who is dropped, however, it matters little whether it is Lassana Diarra or Kaka who has taken his place. Premier League footballers are always under pressure but City's must feel like contestants on The X Factor.

Didier Hamann is the kind of unspectacular but quietly valuable player often tossed aside when a club gets starry-eyed. He showed his usual efficiency on Saturday as City began well, Benjani heading in from the impressive Pablo Zabaleta's cross, wobbled, then rallied, to deservedly share the points with Fulham whose good form was underlined by the flowing move for Jimmy Bullard's equaliser. Hamann then explained he was focused on his own work rather than worrying about possible replacements.

"It's not in our hands who is coming in in January," he said. "[But] our manager has said whoever plays well and applies himself the way he should do has a future at the club."

Hughes suggested the speculation was hysterical but confirmed City's intent when he said: "I don't think there are going to be many clubs looking to spend in the window so we may have a competitive advantage." But he added: "Clubs do not have to sell."

"Every player in every country wants to ply his trade in the Premier League," said Fulham's experienced manager, Roy Hodgson. "But you'd have to be very, very sure about the players you'd be bringing in."

Goals: Benjani (5) 0-1; Bullard (26) 1-1.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Dempsey, Murphy, Bullard, Davies; Zamora, Johnson. Substitutes not used: Zuberbuhler (gk), Nevland, Kallio, Gera, Andreasen, Etuhu, Stoor.

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Zabaleta, Ben Haim, Dunne, Ball; Hamann, Kompany; Vassell, Wright-Phillips, Ireland; Benjani (Evans, 76) Substitutes not used: Schmeichel (gk), Onuoha, Jo, Caicedo, Evans, Logan, Berti.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville).

Booked: Fulham Pantsil, Bullard; Manchester City Ireland.

Man of the match: Bullard.

Attendance: 24,012.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Scientists believe Mercury is coated in billions of years’ worth of carbon dust, after being ‘dumped on’ by passing comets
science
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor