With the transfer deadline day finally here, rumors have been strife in Kenya that one of their most lethal striker might be joining Spanish top flight side Girona FC on a one-year loan deal from Chinese side Guizhou Zhicheng.
Many know less about Girona who are making their debut in the Spanish La Liga this season; the Catalona based side said to have been acquired by English Premier League (EPL) side Manchester City a week ago. As part of the deal, both teams will be exchanging players with a lot of City young players expected to be sent to Girona, albeit on loan, to further their footballing careers. Will this be the route for Olunga, should he sign, takes towards achieving his dream of featuring in the prestigious EPL.
The unprecedented deal, between the two clubs, the Guardian Football reports, presents a dizzying clutch of questions, the most glaring one concerning the partnership with co-owner Pere Guardiola (brother to Manchester City Boss Pep Guardiola) in the joint 88% acquisition of another club. Of all the football deals in all the world, what attracted Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi owner and executives to go into business with their manager Pep Guardiola’s brother and agent?
Inquiries of the Football Association about the deal says that no deal was broken in the purchase of the LaLiga newbies. City and Pere Guardiola are confident that Pep, who will be sending players to Girona on loan, to his brother and agent’s benefit, is not caught in a conflict of interest.
City Young Players
City’s Catalan and former Barcelona chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and director of football, Txiki Begiristain, who know and worked closely with the Guardiola brothers during Barça’s glory years and lobbied ceaselessly to attract Pep to City, have been central to concluding this deal to buy Girona with Pere. The attractions for their Abu Dhabi employer are said to be that more of the players increasingly accumulated at City from young ages can be loaned for polishing in LaLiga, and that buying the club is an investment.
Apart from Girona, the Manchester City Owners own the New York City club in the MLS. Their most recent move was to obtain a foothold in South America with the purchase of Club Atlético Torque in Uruguay and have a minority stake in Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos.
City have been lending Girona players since Pere Guardiola became involved there. Mansour’s executives have famously invested hugely in youth development since his takeover, opening their vast, cutting-edge, £200m campus next to the Etihad Stadium in December 2014. Yet for all that spending, global scouting and buying of young overseas players, the chances for most to play in the first team remain vanishingly small.
The players sent to Girona on loan from City includes, Pablo Maffeo, 20, the Spanish right-back signed from Barcelona in 2013; Aleix García, the 20-year-old attacking midfielder signed from Villarreal; Marlos Moreno, also 20, a Colombian striker, and the 24-year-old Nigerian striker Larry Kayode. The fifth City player there is Douglas Luiz, the 19-year-old midfielder signed this summer from the Brazilian club Vasco da Gama, and immediately loaned out.
No player yet has made the stride from Girona to City but a descent performance from any player could trigger a future move now that they are in La Liga. Should Olunga sign, and give a descent outing, maybe one day, he might mix it with his national team captain Victor Wanyama in the EPL.
Additional Reporting by The Guardian Football