Pellegrini hopes more stars commit
Published 15/08/2014 | 15:26
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is hopeful that more of his squad will commit to long-term contracts in the coming days.
The Barclays Premier League champions have enjoyed a remarkable few days with captain Vincent Kompany, playmaker David Silva and star striker Sergio Aguero all signing new five-year deals.
Samir Nasri and Aleksandar Kolarov agreed fresh terms earlier in the summer while, in a further statement of ambition, £32million defender Eliaquim Mangala joined the club on a five-year contract on Monday.
Pellegrini believes all are proof of the positive direction of the club and he is expecting more good news.
The Chilean said: "I think it is very important for the club to retain the best players.
"I think it is also important for the club that they want to stay here because they are working very well and this is a club that has a lot of ambition for the future. They understand that.
"Maybe you will know in the next few days about other players who extend their contracts."
Recent comments from striker Edin Dzeko have suggested that he could be nearing a new deal following positive talks.
Mangala, meanwhile, is not ready to make his debut as City open the defence of their title at Newcastle on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Frenchman has had little time to settle in since arriving from Porto and Pellegrini is keen for him to work more in training.
"Mangala needs to work more with the team to be able to play," Pellegrini said. "It will not be this weekend."
A number of other players who did not feature in last week's Community Shield loss to Arsenal, most notably Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Fernandinho and Frank Lampard are expected to come into contention.
Aguero, last season's top scorer despite being hampered by injuries in the second half of the campaign, has also not been completely ruled out.
The Argentinian is still to reach full fitness after suffering a groin injury at the World Cup, even though it still seems unlikely he will play at St James' Park.
Pellegrini said: "We will see on Sunday.
"I think that this team always needs Sergio Aguero. It is also important for him to make a good pre-season. He has so many months without playing normally.
"We are trying to make a mix for him, a mix of pre-season and trying to have a level to play for the team."
Fellow forward Alvaro Negredo, who broke a metatarsal in pre-season, is the only player ruled out through injury.
Others, namely those who returned to training late after the World Cup, may not be fully match fit and Pellegrini will have to make judgements on their condition.
He said: "I think we are ready to start. Maybe some players need some more days to be 100 per cent but the whole squad is ready to start the season."
Pellegrini had an excellent first campaign in England as he won the league and the Capital One Cup.
Now he is more comfortable in his surroundings it could be argued his task will be more straightforward but Pellegrini is expecting the opposition to raise their challenge.
He said: "It depends on the way you want to look at it. Maybe last year when I arrived here nobody believed we could win the title because it was my first season here in England. But we did it.
"This year we have the advantage that I already know the players and they know me. We won the title but it is difficult for the team that wins the title to repeat it, but we will try to do it."