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Otamendi loss still hurting Valencia

What the MEDIA says finished

What the MEDIA says finished

The departure of Nicolas Otamendi is still being felt at his old club Valencia.

The defender left the Spanish club to join City shortly before the transfer window closed in the summer and is quickly becoming a fan favourite at the Etihad.

But his influence at his former club was huge, with his old coach Nuno still lamenting his departure.

Sports Mole report: “Valencia boss Nuno has admitted that his team have struggled this season without Argentine centre-back Nicolas Otamendi.

“The Argentine international played a key role in Valencia's fourth-place finish in La Liga last season after joining from Porto.

Otamendi

“The 27-year-old made a big-money move to Manchester City in the summer window, however, and Nuno has conceded that the loss of the defender has been felt this term.

‘It's clear [losing Otamendi hurt]. He was with us until a week before we played Monaco,’ said Nuno.

‘Nico let us defend a different way. His virtue was his anticipation and that made the team play differently. We can't be the same with him as without him.’”

Elsewhere and Joe Hart has admitted he would like to follow in a line of illustrious goalkeepers by captaining his country on a permanent basis.

Joe Hart has admitted he wants to be England captain on a permanent basis – though admits it could be a while before he repeats leading the national side as he did against Spain on Friday.

The Mirror write: “The Manchester City star led the Three Lions for the first time in Friday’s friendly against Spain – with Wayne Rooney and his vice-captain Gary Cahill both rested from the starting line-up.

“And the England No.1 said that Spain’s Iker Casillas and Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon are both proof that a keeper can make a good skipper.

“Hart, 28, said: ‘Casillas has done it enough. Buffon has done it enough. They are two special talents.

Joe Hart celebrates the opening goal against Chelsea

‘It was a special moment. But I’ve got to be realistic. Wayne’s our captain, Gary’s our vice, and they weren’t playing in Alicante.

‘I was very honoured to take the armband for the evening, but I know my position in the team and I try to maintain the same mentality whether I’m wearing the armband for my country or not.

‘It was a proud moment, but we need to stick together as a unit and whoever wears it we try and push for each other.’”

Staying with international football and Eliaquim Mangala and Bacary Sagna could be in opposition against Hart, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph in Tuesday’s friendly against France.

In what is likely to be an emotional occasion given the tragic events in Paris last Friday, Mangala, quoted before the atrocities in the French capital said: ‘I would like to score past Joe. That would be nice, and they all tell me what a great stadium Wembley is.

‘It will be Bacary versus Raheem (Sterling) and that will be fun to see. We see it in training and now we may see it on the pitch!’

The MEN continue: “The FA have conformed the game will go ahead but as a much more sombre occasion as football stands together against the terrorist threat.

“FA chief executive Martin Glenn told his French counterpart Noel Le Graet in the early hours of Saturday morning that he would have no complaints if the French Football Federation (FFF) did not want the game to go on.”

Finally, Football Fancast speculate two City players will be in demand when the January transfer window opens.

Given the lengthy injury list the Blues have suffered this season, Manuel Pellegrini seems unlikely to want to let any of his experienced stars leave midway through the campaign – but the report reads: “Manchester City duo Martin Demichelis and Samir Nasri are top transfer targets for foreign clubs ahead of the January transfer window.

“Demichelis has all but lost his place in the side thanks to the summer arrival of Nicolas Otamendi, and the improved form of Eliaquim Mangala.

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“Either of the pair tend to partner captain Vincent Kompany at the heart of the City backline, and the 34-year old appears to be the odd man out.

“Argentine outfit Rosario Central are being linked with making a move for the former Bayern Munich and Malaga man.

“Nasri has found first-team opportunities equally as hard to come by this year, with the Frenchman behind the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and David Silva in attacking midfield areas.

“He has been at the Etihad since 2011, winning two Premier League titles and both domestic cups since his £25m move from Arsenal.

“Italian giants Inter Milan and Juventus have been mooted as possible destinations for the 28-year old former France star.”

More news on the Blues tomorrow…

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