As pre-season training ramps up for Manchester City on their International Champions Cup tour of the United States, manager Pep Guardiola has acknowledged that Nigerian youngster Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way out.
Iheanacho has been the subject of transfer rumours all summer and reports have added Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City into the mix to sign the 20-year-old away from the Etihad Stadium.
Despite scoring 21 goals in 64 appearances across all competitions over two seasons in Manchester, he has been unable to earn consistent minutes with the Manchester City first eleven.
Last season, with Sergio Aguero absent for four games leading up to the Boxing Day fixtures and Gabriel Jesus not available for selection until January, Guardiola gave Iheanacho a place in the starting lineup for a couple of matches.
The coach then left him on the substitutes bench for the remainder of the season, instead going with Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling up front.
As it is for any player going into a World Cup year, playing time is vital for Iheanacho, both in terms of development and solidifying a place with his national team.
Guardiola stated at a press conference in Houston: “Kelechi is a young player. It was easy, an honour to work with him, because it’s not easy for him, I didn’t give him a lot of choices.
“But he’s close to making a transfer. Maybe in the next week, in the next 10 days, it’s going to finish.”
Guardiola also added that City will be inserting a buy-back clause in any transfer involving Iheanacho: “We’ll have an option to have the opportunity in a few years to bring him back.
“But he’s a young player and we believe he deserves to play, he needs to play at that age and that’s why the club will decide what’s best for him.”
Leicester have reportedly tabled a £25 million bid for the striker and if the move goes through, Iheanacho will be reunited with Nigeria teammates Wilfred Ndidi and Ahmed Musa. Source: ESPN