Pellegrini says he didn’t pursue heavy hitters because of trust in Dzeko

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Finally, Edin Dzeko gets some credit.

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has publicly put his stamp of approval on one of the most under-appreciated scorers in the Premier League.

With City having sold Carlos Tevez to Juventus, the position alongside Sergio Aguero now solely belongs to Dzeko, and the manager wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Everyone was talking before I arrived that we will bring in Cavani, Lewandowski, all those players” Pellegrini said. “But I always trusted in Edin Dzeko and he is now playing the way I want. I am sure he will continue improving.”

Dzeko scored the lone goal in Friday’s victory over Sunderland to earn City the Barclays Asia Trophy preseason honors.

It was a heck of a goal, too – a half-volley from outside the box that blasted off the post and in.

The 27-year-old Bosnian made 32 appearances last season, but just half of those were starts, as he confusingly never received the full trust of Roberto Mancini.

Pellegrini says after a blistering preseason, that will change this year. “Not only in Hong Kong, I have a lot of trust in him going forward. He is a player I knew very well and I was sure he would be a very successful player.”

Nicknamed Bosanski dijamant – “The Bosnian diamond” – Dzeko has averaged a fantastic 119 minutes per goal over the past two seasons at Etihad Stadium.  But he’s always wanted to be more than a super-sub.

City did buy Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina, but the 23-year-old plays more as a secondary striker, and can even play on the wings, so he will be much less of a threat to Dzeko’s minutes than Tevez was.

Dzeko now finds himself in a position of much more responsibility this season, and therefore he’s finally receiving the praise he has so long deserved.

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

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Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.

Premier League vet Scott Parker calls quits on playing career

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Scott Parker has announced his retirement from soccer after a stellar 20-plus year career in England.

[ MORE: Chile bests Portugal on PKs to reach Confed Cup final ]

The 36-year-old spent almost the entirety of his career in the Premier League, and played with seven teams during his time on the pitch.

“I believe now is the right time to move on to the next chapter in my life and career,” Parker said in a statement.

“I feel incredibly honoured and proud to have enjoyed the career that I have and I’ve loved every moment of it.”

Parker began playing with Charlton after coming up through the team’s youth academy, before completing a move to Chelsea in 2004.

Throughout his career, Parker also spent time at Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham, before finishing up at Fulham this past season.