Who is Manchester City target Nolito?
An endless list of names have been linked with joining Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, and it's no surprise really after last season's failings under Manuel Pellegrini, where City tamely finished fourth. But with the appointment of Guardiola comes renewed optimism and hope for Citizens fans, with the incoming boss ready to overhaul the squad. He has already brought in Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund and it appears as though the next attacking player Pep has his sights on is Celta Vigo's Nolito.
Largely unknown in these parts, Nolito helped Celta to a strong sixth placed finish in La Liga, just four points behind Villarreal, who occupied fourth position. Predominantly playing as a left forward,The Spaniard made huge contributions in 2015/16, notching 12 goals and grabbing 7 assists. That record isn't too dissimilar to £49m Raheem Sterling, who scored 11 times and assisted on four occasions in all competitions in his debut campaign at the Etihad.
Such form for Nolito led to him being named in Spain's Euro 2016 squad, at the expense of key names such as Diego Costa, Juan Mata and Fernando Torres. But he repaid faith shown by Vincent Del Bosque by bagging braces in friendlies against Bosnia and South Korea, earning him a start in Spain's last-gasp win against Czech Republic on Monday.
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From the outside, the former Benfica man would appear to be a tidy purchase for Guardiola. However, it's worth noting that he is 29 and doesn't exactly have many primed years ahead of him - this is a factor as to why a good chunk of Manchester City fans would prefer Guardiola and City to fork out £65m upwards for Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
But having spent two years at Barcelona when Guardiola was in the hotseat at the Nou Camp, he appears to have a relative idea of the principles and philosophy the 45-year old demands. City are the favourites to land Nolito, and at the reported price of £14 million, it could be a quietly impressive bit of business.
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