Stevan Jovetic staying at City despite Wilfried Bony deal - Manuel Pellegrini
MANCHESTER -- Manuel Pellegrini insisted that Stevan Jovetic is staying at Manchester City, despite the signing of Wilfried Bony.
The Manchester City manager said that the 25 million-pound Ivorian, who completed his move from Swansea on Wednesday, is a direct replacement for Alvaro Negredo, who left on the final day of the summer transfer window.
Jovetic has been linked with Juventus but Pellegrini is adamant the Montenegrin is not surplus to requirements because he has always wanted a quartet of strikers.
He said in a news conference: "Stevan is a very important player for us. Bony arrives now in the window. It was a decision we took after we sold Alvaro Negredo. He is replacing Alvaro Negredo. We sold him because he had personal problems and did not want to continue here. Bony is replacing Alvaro, not Jovetic."
Pellegrini believes that Bony is the closest equivalent to target man Negredo, who scored 23 goals in his only season at City before returning to his native Spain with Valencia.
He added: "I think that Bony is similar to Alvaro Negredo. He is strong, he supports the ball, so in the way we play it is important to have that support, so players can arrive from midfield in the second line. He is an important striker inside the box, same as Alvaro, so I think he is more similar to him than Edin [Dzeko] or Kun [Sergio Aguero] or Jovetic."
Pellegrini comes up against the other most prominent Chilean in English football on Sunday when Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal visit the Etihad Stadium.
City did not try to sign the winger when he left Barcelona last summer and Pellegrini explained that it was because he already had four forwards then.
He added: "In the moment Barcelona sold him to Arsenal, we were not searching for one striker because we had Jovetic, Aguero, Negredo and Dzeko."
City allowed defender Matija Nastasic to leave and join Schalke on loan for the rest of the season, with a view to a permanent move.
The Serbian had not made a Premier League appearance for 11 months and Pellegrini said that, after the summer signing of Eliaquim Mangala, Nastasic needed first-team football elsewhere.
He added: "At the beginning of the season when we bought Mangala we had three important centre-backs with Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis and Mangala. The fourth was [Dedryck] Boyata so Matija knew it was better for him as a young player to go to and play for another team.
"For different reasons, he couldn't do it at the beginning of the season so he worked here with us without any problems, but he was better for him to go and play. We had five centre-backs."
Pellegrini said Nastasic's City career is not definitely over, though, adding: "I think we have the four centre-backs we need in our squad but I don't have any problems with Matija. He is welcome here if he comes back. He is just 21 years old. He needs to play more in this moment. In this club, it is difficult."