If you put all of your eggs in the Kelechi Iheanacho basket for West Ham United next season, you’re probably not thrilled with Kelechi’s latest statement. When asked by BBC World Football podcast if he would be playing for Manchester City next season, Iheanacho responded, “definitely.”
‘I don’t know about that news. All I know is that I’m still at Manchester City, I’m still a Manchester City player so all the news that’s going on about teams wanting to buy me, I try not to know about that.
‘People will go on holiday and we will see. It’s not only me that hasn’t been playing, there are other players.
‘The manager rotates the players and squad so that everyone gets game time. So I shouldn’t be complaining that I’m not getting games.
‘We are one squad and we are a full squad so everyone is not going to be playing at the same time.’
While some would argue the writing on the wall is pretty clear and the young Nigerian is destined to stay, I submit Kelechi Iheanacho is just a good kid who is trying to say the right things, while attempting to remain at a top flight club.
Nobody can argue the potential and talent Kelechi brings to the table, and as always, in order to showcase that talent and live up to years of hype, one must earn some playing time on the pitch. Last season with Manchester City, Iheanacho was scarcely used, even when it might have prudent to do so. A far cry from his breakthrough 16 goal season only a year ago.
Kelechi may not be suiting up in claret and blue next season, but it’s almost guaranteed he won’t be gracing the pitch of the Ethiad.
Say what you want about Pep Guordiola and his first season at Manchester City, but it was largely a disappointment to everyone involved. Many predicted with Pep’s caliber driving the ship, championships were just beyond the horizon. Instead, they seemed to pull into the harbor days late with half their crew missing or drunk. Loose boat analogies aside, there was an expectation that fell flat in Manchester. There is no way Pep stays content with the idea of Iheanacho waiting in the wings. There is already talk of Arsenal season-saver, Alexis Sanchez, in heated negotiations to make the move north.
As of now, Kelechi is fighting for playing time with both Sergio Aguero and the often-injured, Gabriel Jesus. With Sergio Aguero going nowhere during this transfer window, and Jesus looking like every bit of the prospect he was promised, it will be slim pickings for playtime.
Lastly, there is new rumor coming out of ExWHUEmployee camp, claiming Manchester City have already given Kelechi Iheanacho a heads up they are trying to deal him out. This came shortly after Kelechi’s comments to the media, presumably an answer to his pleas to stay.
West Ham is reported to have offered somewhere around £24 million, with other incentives and clauses built in. The one clause that is seemingly holding up the deal from completion, is a buyback. Various outlets are reporting Manchester City wants a buyback clause implemented in the contract.
Regardless of how this ends, it’s a safe presumption Kelechi Iheanacho will not be playing for Manchester City next season. While Hammer fans will continue to clamor and hold out hope this signing will come to fruition, history has taught us otherwise.
Yet, hope remains.