Surprise deal close: Report claims 20 y/o forward is on the verge of joining Man City’s academy

It\’s been a quiet transfer window for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City as they try to chase down Liverpool in the Premier League title race. The reigning champions have sealed a £12.5m deal for young River Plate midfielder Claudio Echeverri, but he\’ll be remaining in Argentina for the entirety of 2024 before he lands at the Etihad, so they won\’t feel the immediate impact of that move.

Now, it looks like City are about to do another deal, this time within the City Football Group (CFG), for a player who can slot straight into the upper echelons of their academy.

According to French outlet RMC Sport, Man City are signing Alexis Tibidi on loan from French second-division Troyes, who are of course part of the CFG, and an announcement is imminent. The report acknowledges that the move is a “surprise”, particularly after previous loan club NEC Nijmegen expressed concerns over the player\’s “investment”.

However, City are hopeful the player will benefit from a temporary stint at the Etihad where he will have the opportunity to train with the first-team on occasion, under the tutelage of Guardiola himself, and play for the under-21s.

It was only 12 months ago that Tibidi joined the CFG with Troyes, signing from Stuttgart in a €2.3m transfer. He\’d played 13 games during his stint with the German club but found most success on loan in Austria with Altach, where he scored five goals in 16 matches.

In the second half of last season, the winger hardly featured for his new club, notching just 72 minutes over the course of three substitute appearances in Ligue 1. Tellingly, he played more than double that number for the B-team (153).

That\’s where the loan to the Netherlands came in. The goal was to get him playing consistent first-team football in order to further his development, but partly because of the aforementioned dissatisfaction with his attitude, he didn\’t feature at all.

That prompted Troyes to recall him at the end of the year, and now City have intervened in the hope of getting his career back on track. This is a player who was regarded as a “top talent” when he joined Troyes and, at 20, he still has time on his side. The opportunity to work with Guardiola from time to time and take part in some of the highest-level training sessions in world football could be invaluable.

City could also use the help for their under-21 side. After romping to the Premier League 2 Division 1 title by 13 points last year, they\’ve tumbled all the way down to the bottom of the 26-team table this term, having collected just six points from their 11 games. The hope will be that adding a player who already has decent experience of the senior game will be a lift to those struggling academy talents too.