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Man City lose Zabaleta for a month


Pablo ZabaletaManchester City right-back Pablo Zabaleta will be sidelined for “around one month” with a knee injury, manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed on Friday.

The Argentina international, 30, has not yet played this season after being granted time off following the Copa America and injured himself in training this week.

“Pablo Zabaleta yesterday (Thursday) had a problem in his knee with his ligaments so he will be out for around one month,” Pellegrini told a press conference.

Bacary Sagna is likely to continue to deputise for Zabaleta. In other injury news, new signing Fabian Delph (hamstring) and midfielder Fernando (groin) have both returned to training.

Top of the Premier League table on goal difference following a 3-0 win over defending champions Chelsea last weekend, City visit Everton on Sunday.

City bolstered their squad on Thursday by signing Zabaleta’s international team-mate Nicolas Otamendi from Valencia in a deal reported to be worth around £32 million ($50.2 million, 44.5 million euros).

The club already possessed three accomplished centre-backs in the shape of captain Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis, but Pellegrini feels it is important to have competition in the back four.

“I think that we needed a centre-back,” said the Chilean, whose side won 3-0 at West Bromwich Albion in their opening game.

“We analysed different options and we decided that Nicolas Otamendi was the best option. I think he is a very good player. He is improving.

“I know him from when he played in Porto with Mangala, both of them against Malaga in the Champions League. Last season with Valencia he had a very good season.”

Pellegrini refused to be drawn on reports that City are close to signing Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg, but said: “The (transfer) window closes on September 1. Before that, nobody knows what happens.”

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