After a summer in which Man City signed Kevin De Bruyne for £54 million, Raheem Sterling for £44 million, and even Patrick Roberts for £12 million, it was 18-year-old Kelechi Iheanacho, called up after a season in City’s youth setup, who scored the 90th-minute winner against Crystal Palace.
So who is the lesser known match winner standing out from the club’s expensive youthful acquisitions? Let’s take a look…
-Iheanacho first garnered international attention at the U-17 World Cup in 2013, where he scored six goals and won the Golden Ball while helping Nigeria win the tournament. This also earned him the year’s Most Promising Talent of the Year award from the CAF.
-He signed a pre-contract with City later that year and joined the club’s U.S. tour ahead of the 2014/15 season, scoring twice. “Kelechi is just 17 years old and he’s a very important player for us in the future,” Manuel Pellegrini said at the time.
-He briefly trained with MLS club Columbus Crew while UK work permit issues were sorted out, but once they were, his stellar performances continued at the youth level.
-He did this in a U-21 match against Man United…
-He made his Premier League debut at the end of City’s 2–0 win against Watford in August.
-He was not included in City’s Champions League squad due to the foreign player limit of 17.
-He has apparently earned the nickname “Uncle Kelechi” from Raheem Sterling (who, for the record, is two years older than him).
-His FIFA 16 overall rating is 67, with pace, acceleration, and sprint speed being his best attributes.
-If he continues to perform at a high level, City might pay themselves £50 million for him in order to reinforce the belief that all talented young players must come at a significant cost.