Alvaro Negredo may miss UCL squad
MANCHESTER -- Manuel Pellegrini is weighing up whether to leave Alvaro Negredo out of Manchester City's Champions League squad for the first half of the season as he admits the striker's metatarsal injury could mean he misses out on European football before Christmas.
City are allowed to name 17 non-homegrown players in their Premier League squad but only 16 in Europe as part of their punishment for breaching financial fair play rules.
And striker Negredo, who is sidelined until October with a foot problem and will miss the start of City's continental campaign, could be the odd man out.
"Maybe -- we will see how his injury goes so we have a lot to decide," Pellegrini said at a news conference. "When we have to give the squad for the Champions League, we will decide which player we must leave off the list."
Negredo is certain to sit out Monday's game against Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium, with new signing Eliaquim Mangala the only other City player who will not come into contention.
The French centre-back has only been in training for two weeks after the delay in completing his 32 million-pound move from Porto.
But Frank Lampard, who was loaned from New York City FC, is available to make his debut, though he is unlikely to start as he is another who is not yet fully match fit.
Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score in City's 2-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday but Pellegrini hinted last season's top scorer will be a substitute again as he looks to nurse him back to match sharpness.
Pellegrini added: "Sergio needs a long preseason that is why he is playing just some minutes during the game but he is available and Lampard also.
"Mangala is just starting working with us so I think that he needs more time to go with our squad. All the rest of the squad are fit except Negredo."
Right-backs Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna, who did not feature in either the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal or the victory at Newcastle, are available although they -- along with Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis and Fernandinho -- are not in peak condition yet.
"For this week, all of them will be not 100 percent but ready," Pellegrini said.
The City manager also shrugged off reports linking Negredo with a return to Spain and centre-back Matija Nastasic, who would be available at the right price, with a transfer to an Italian club.
He said: "There are so many rumours. When the rumour is ready, it is finished, I will talk about that."