Is Manchester City’s Interest in Hagi Still Alive Despite His Move to Genk?
Ianis Hagi made a move from Viitorul Constanța to Genk this summer, and it is surely not the last big transfer the exciting youngster will be involved in.
The attacking midfielder has already progressed to the Romanian national side at the age of 20 and he carries the hopes of a nation on his shoulders. He’s being watched by some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Manchester City one side reportedly eyeing a swoop for him before his move to Belgium.
The name ‘Hagi’ conjures up images of a golden era for Romanian football. Ianis is the son of Gheorghe Hagi, possibly the most famous name to come out of the country. He played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid and founded the same team his son has just left.
The youngster’s playing style has drawn comparisons with his father too; he sits behind a striker and has close control, explosive runs into the box and chips in with a goal or two. He can operate as a centre forward and had Manchester City been willing to put him in the first-team squad, he might have moved there.
“There was huge interest from Guardiola,” said Constanta director Cristian Bivolaru. “It was a business in three, to loan him to Girona, but Girona was relegated from Primera.”
Barcelona also wanted to sign him and loan him back out and there was interest from Borussia Dortmund, Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and Ajax. With such illustrious names in the hunt, Genk pulled off quite a coup, but will Manchester City still be interested?
90 Min reports that Hagi was one of the stars of the UEFA Under-21 tournament this summer, where Romania knocked England out. That will ensure he remains on the radar of the clubs who were chasing him in the summer.
Their reluctance may be due to an aborted move to Italy earlier in his career. An article by Violanation explains how he never got a chance in Serie A, but whether he struggled to settle and perform may be a factor in teams like Manchester City taking a gamble on him now.
Pep Guardiola is always active in the transfer market. An in-depth look into all the teams in the Premier League by Coral discusses how he brought in Rodri and Joao Cancelo this summer, so he certainly isn’t afraid to splash the cash when it’s justified.
Hagi’s spell with Genk could well be just what he needs to convince the bigger sides that he does have what it takes to succeed. He’s older and wiser than when he went over to Italy and he’s already grabbed three goals in eight matches for his new club.
If he keeps performing to that level then the big European clubs will keep taking note, with Arsenal also having been rumoured to be interested over the summer. However, with Manchester City’s spending power and their success in the Premier League, they’d be a great fit for the big hope of Romanian football.