MANCHESTER City has included Super Eagles playmaker Kelechi Iheanacho in its Uefa Champions League squad for the knock-out stage of the tournament after being told that French midfielder Sami Nasri is likely to be out of action for the rest of the season.
Iheanacho, 19, was not included in the City squad that prosecuted the group stages of the tournament as it was not envisaged that he would break into the senior squad so soon. However, a combination of his scintillating form and injuries to key players like Nasri and Ivorian Wilfried Bony, has made his inclusion imperative.
Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City’s manager, said: “Yes, Kelechi will be in the Champions League squad. I told Samir Nasri I would take him out of the list as he needs two months more to be fit.
“We need Kelechi now as Bony is injured too and we couldn’t take the risk to go into the last 16 game with just Kun. It’s always difficult to tell a player he will not continue in the list but Samir understood perfectly that he needs at least two months more.”
Meanwhile Stoke City has rejected an attempt by Marseille to sign Osaze Odemwingie until the end of the season. Osaze, no stranger to deadline-day drama after his reported falling out with West Bromwich Albion over a move to Crystal Palace a few years ago, was reported to be set to fly out to the south of France but stopped at the last minute.
Stoke City boss Mark Hughes put the break on any move, deciding to keep Osaze until the end of the season. Out injured for most of the campaign, the veteran winger is out of contract at the end of the season and it is unlikely that Stoke will keep him over the long term.