As Pep Guardiola takes his Manchester City squad to Girona, we get to the bottom of the unusual early-season training camp in Spain.
Barely 48 hours have passed since City kicked off their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 victory at newly-promoted Brighton, yet they have jetted off to Catalonia.
So, why have City decided to leave the country at a critical early stage of the season, Sky Sports News‘ man in the North West, James Cooper, explains…
Manchester City flew to Girona on Monday morning before what has been labelled an “intensive training camp”. They will play Girona at their 13,500-capacity Stadi Montilivi on Tuesday afternoon in a game which could see the return of Ilkay Gundogan, following more than eight months on the sidelines.
The game is Girona’s final outing ahead of their first ever La Liga debut against Atletico Madrid on Saturday, following promotion from the Segunda Division last term.
Girona are owned by Pep Guardiola’s brother and agent, Pere Guardiola. His Media Base Agency took over Girona in 2015 and there’s speculation they could soon become the sixth club in the Manchester City Football Group.
City already have a cosy relationship with Girona having loaned several players there last season, and they have loaned another four for this season too – Alex Garcia, Marlos Moreno, Douglas Luiz and Pablo Maffeo, who is spending his second successive season at Girona on loan.
After a summer of upheaval, arrivals and international duty, City director of football Txiki Begiristain revealed the trip to Girona presents Guardiola with an extra chance to put his squad through their paces.
“This trip is a great opportunity for Pep to work with his full squad in an intensive training camp,” he said.
“We have had some players away on international duty this summer, which means Pep hasn’t had the chance to work for long with the whole squad.City will spend four days in the north-eastern Catalan city before returning to the UK on Thursday evening. City then host Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Monday Night Football four days later.