Manchester City right-back Pablo Zabaleta is nearing a move to AS Roma in a £2.5million deal, according to reports from Gazzetta dello Sports. The 31-year old is in the final 12 months of his contract with City and is not assured of a starting eleven role with Pep Guardiola taking over at City this summer.
Zabaleta, 31 fell down the pecking order with Bacary Sagna being the preferred right-back option in big games for the Citizens last season. Add to that Zabaleta’s injury setbacks did not help his cause which saw him only make 12 appearanes last season.
Argentine international underwent a knee surgery earlier this year which ruled him out of the recently concluded Copa America as well. Roma for their part have offered a long-term deal to Zabaleta which he has reportedly agreed to and will join the Serie A club in coming days.
Zabaleta was brought to The Etihad by Mark Hughes back in 2008 even before Shiekh Mansour brought the Manchester based club. Despite a pile of money being thrown in the squad overhaul, Zabaleta was one of the most consistent performers for City and went on to make over 300 appearances for the club.
During his 8-year stay with City, Zabaleta won two Premier League titles as well as the FA Cup and Capital One Cup twice. Despite his contribution to the club Zabaleta was made aware of his uncertain future at City after the incoming manager Pep Guardiola was looking at other right back options.
In an interview earlier this year, Zabaleta said: "I have just one more year here [on my contract] and we'll see what happens at the end of the season, wWe expect big changes at the club with a new manager coming in.''
As it turned out, Zabaleta has accepted an offer from Roma which may not be on the same level in terms of the salary he was earning in England but the 31-year old is guaranteed to first team action.
What next for Man City and Pep?
With Euro 2016 over, City are expected to induldge into serious transfer business with Nolito and John Stones being earmarked as the key targtes for the Citizens.
Nolito is even expected in Manchester later today to undergo his medical before he will be officially unveiled as a City player. As for Stones, a £40million bid is being rumoured as Pep fancies Stones to be his key man at the back next season.Published 29 Jun 2016, 15:37 IST