The transfer window might be closed but Manchester City have managed to secure an acquisition in time for next season as they have reportedly agreed a deal to bring La Liga star Sávio to the club in a few months’ time — but, technically, he’s already on the book at the City Football Group.
For anyone unaware of the City Football Group (CFG) structure, the Abu Dhabi United Group run the football-based holding company which in turn operates 13 different clubs around the world, including Man City, Girona, New York City FC, Troyes AC and Palermo, just to name a few.
All that being said, Sávio, who is currently on loan from the aforementioned French team Troyes, has lit up the Spanish league ever since he joined Girona back in 2022, of which the CFG currently own 47%.
With five goals and seven assists to his name and shining as one of the key players in the club’s remarkable title charge this season, having finished sixth in Spain’s second tier just a short while ago in 21/22 and only just managing promotion through the playoffs, City are now set to bring him to the Etihad.
While Blues will rightly be excited about the eventual arrival of the 19-year-old Brazilian winger, who claims he had lucrative offers from multiple clubs but refused as he knew “one day [he] would play for City”, football fans elsewhere are wondering if this is all kosher.
As The Athletic‘s Nick Miller shared in a post via X: “A classic bit of multi-club nimble footwork this. Savio was signed by City Football Group’s Troyes – their record signing, in fact – but has never played for them, was loaned immediately to City Football Group’s Girona, & is now being sold to City Football Group’s Manchester City.
One commenter said, “This has to be illegal there’s no way this is possible”, while another particularly sarcastic remark read: “These negotiations must‘ve been incredibly difficult.” Given all three clubs are affiliated, any money exchanged will go back into virtually the same pot.
The fact is, no matter how much you want to question how ‘fair’ moves like this are, it’s considered above board and is by no means the first. Former City fullback Angeliño joined back in 2015 and was immediately loaned out to New York FC and Girona before eventually making just six appearances for his parent club in two years and being ultimately moved on.
Jack Harrison’s case was similar only in reverse; he joined New York through their youth programme and was then officially sold to City in 2018 without playing a single game for them in three seasons after being sent straight to Middlesborough and then successive spells at Leeds United before joining them on a permanent deal.
As Miller went on to add, he wasn’t “even suggesting there’s anything wrong with this per se. Just that this is the reality of being in a multi-club group: the smaller teams are no longer independent entities whose success is the ultimate priority – just vessels through which the ‘parent’ club funnels things”.
However, as many others online have noted, the implications this has on said smaller teams like Troyes could prove to be damning, especially when you take into account they were relegated from Ligue 1 last season and could potentially even slip into the French third division if their form continues.
City might be getting yet another extremely promising attacking squad member when Sávio joins them in the summer — with the deal supposedly set to be complete by the end of this month — but he will remain with Girona for the rest of the season as they look to win the league for the first time in their history.
Meanwhile, Troyes, of whom City are still the majority shareholder, could go down yet again whilst watching their most expensive player ever move on without ever even pulling on the shirt.
Man United striker Rasmus Højlund set to miss Manchester derby as muscle injury rules him out for ‘two to three weeks’
Man United have suffered a pretty big short-term blow as their in-form forward Rasmus Højlund has been diagnosed with a muscle injury which is set to see him out for “two to three weeks”, meaning he will likely miss the upcoming Manchester derby.
The Danish striker has been running red-hot of late, scoring seven in his last six league games for Man United and now sitting as the club’s top marksman with 13 goals and two assists across all competitions, but just as Erik ten Hag’s side look to have got going, they will now be without him for a spell.
Issuing an update on Friday, 23 February, United confirmed that a muscle injury is “expected to rule him out for two to three weeks”, meaning he will miss this weekend’s fixture against Fulham, the FA Cup fifth round against Nottingham Forest and most likely the Manchester derby.
The Red Devils are currently unbeaten in 2024 and on a run of six wins out of their last seven, with Højlund making the difference in many of them.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game at Old Trafford, ten Hag went on to explain: “It is a small injury. That is what happens and the risk [when you are] playing at high intensity and training.”
The Dutchman reiterated, “As I say it is not a big injury, but he has to wait for one, two, three weeks”, though Reds will nevertheless be gutted to see the 21-year-old sidelined after having now started finding the net and putting together such an impressive run of performances.
While he emphasised that it is not a “big injury”, the timing couldn’t be more frustrating for a team that looks to be finally gathering some momentum, not only in and around the European places already but right on the trail of those chasing down the Champions League spots.
Højlund’s injury only adds to the club’s ever-growing list of players on the physio’s bench, including Tyrell Malacia, Mason Mount, Lisandro Martinez and another huge setback in Luke Shaw’s long-term hamstring problems.
In contrast, Manchester City have been lofted by comebacks from both Erling Haaland, who is getting back on the scoresheet once again, and midfielder maestro Kevin De Bruyne as they look to step up the pressure on league leaders Liverpool.
The treble-winners were always going to be putting in a very strong title defence but the return of KDB has reminded football fans just exactly how good he is. The Belgian was left on the bench against Brentford due to “minor niggles” but you can fully expect him to be raring to go come derby day.
Stockport County create a new community mural with young street artists in Edgeley
Stockport County is creating a brand new mural with a group of young street artists from the local area and a little help from one of their squad members.
This past February half-term, the Greater Manchester football club enlisted the help of some schoolkids and aspiring artists, along with local creatives from around the area to create a brand new piece of artwork right in the heart of the community.
With some paint, plenty of spray cans and the expertise of Manc muralist and designer, Oskar With A K, and poet Ruth Awolola, a dozen local secondary school pupils helped write, design and paint the mural — taking inspiration directly from the club and the thriving fan culture in Stockport.
There is no chant more iconic and important to the Hatters than their famous ‘The Scarf My Father Worse’ song and that’s exactly what the local artists have decided to immortalise.
The painting process began on Friday, 16 February and, as you can see, they even managed to rope in County defender Ethan Pye came along to lend a hand with the mural, armed with a can of spray paint to help the young people bring their ideas to life.
Being developed by the Stockport County Community Trust in collaboration with North West organisations, GRIT Studios and The Writing Squad, ‘The Scarf My Father Wore’ project has received £14,800 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Popping in a prime location on the corner of Castle Street and Mercian Way — just metres away from the Edgeley Park stadium and right at the beginning of the local village high street — this vibrant work of art will be passed by thousands of commuters and pedestrians every day.
Being brought to life in brilliant blue and white in line with the club’s colour scheme and proudly printing the title of the famous chant on the wall along with stencils of the County crest, footballs and many other details, it sits pride of place in the Stockport suburb.
Much like the historic chant and the symbolic scarf itself, this brilliant piece of street art will be passed down and enjoyed by generations to come, as well as make sure the club continues to play a key role in local culture.
County’s Community Trust CEO Alison Warwood said: “This project shows how art and writing by young people can make a real difference to the local community, and I can’t wait to see the end result.”
John Macaulay from GRIT Studios added: “We’re thrilled to be involved in such a collaborative and community-spirited initiative. Our young artists will be helping to create a lasting landmark that will become a focal point in Edgeley for years to come.”
With the Hatters currently top of the League Two table and looking at yet another promotion season, there feels like no better time for fans to wear the club on their sleeve, their scarves around their necks and now up on the wall too.