In an exclusive interview with former Manchester City star Trevor Sinclair has insisted Manuel Pellegrini must go January shopping for a new centre-back to compensate for the prolonged absence of Vincent Kompany, in addition to revealing his style of poker play.

On his style of poker play

“When I’ve worked out my opponent or got a big hand I’m pretty sly. I try and sucker a few in. I’m not a brilliant poker player but I’ve got a strategy. I’ve got a bit of game.”

Man City need a new centre-back in January window

“If I was in charge would I be tempted to bring in another defender? Yes I would. Any partnership between Otamendi, Mangala and Demichelis doesn’t fill me with a tremendous amount of confidence.”

“The people at the club will have done their scouting and if they have someone in mind just to shore up that central defence in case Vincent Kompany doesn’t come back until next season it gives them a better chance of winning the league. I don’t really like that Otamendi and Demichelis link-up and Mangala is out so it is an area City need to strengthen.”

“If you look at the results this season and the lack of clean sheets Manchester City have kept then the proof is there. When Vincent is in the team the amount of clean sheets they keep is phenomenally different.”

Having seen their team lose five already this term with a back-line that too often looks at sixes and sevens there will be few City fans disagreeing with the tricky winger who has the unique honour of scoring the first ever competitive goal at the Etihad. There is however an issue that divides the supporters and indeed the football world at large. Is he over the hill? Has the beast been tamed? Has he become too big for his boots?

Yaya Toure is a legend who will decide his own future

We need to talk about Yaya and on this contentious matter Sinclair is typically forthright and unequivocal.

“Yaya Toure is an absolute legend and will be in the history books. He was there when it all happened and was a big part of that. I do feel his best seasons are now behind him and I don’t think he can play the 50/60 games anymore but in the big games if you keep him fit and happy he can still be very, very influential. His experience, competence and confidence are massive for Champions League games.”

“Whether they’re going to keep him in the summer I don’t know. I think Yaya is probably in charge of his own future.”

Fabian Delph will be Manchester City mainstay for years to come

Should the Ivorian leave for pastures new this year then talk will inevitably centre on his possible big-money replacement with a fifty million plus bid for Paul Pogba rumoured to be in the pipeline. Yet according to Sinclair in Fabian Delph the club already possess a star in the making who can be a mainstay in the City midfield for years to come.

“I’ve seen him improve and he took the bull by the horns two years ago and his levels went up. You could just see he was taking the game a lot more seriously. He’s got energy and if City do want to play with two up top he’d be my preferred option in there because I’m not sure Yaya can do that while Fernando and Fernandinho are too similar. He’s got a good future at City. He’s brave on the ball and doesn’t just play it sideways.”

Dimitri Payet is Ozil’s equal

Sinclair made 82 appearances for Manchester City and is fondly regarded by Blues but it was at his previous club West Ham where the wide-man really came to prominence. As an integral part of an exciting – but sadly underachieving – Hammers side that included Paulo Di Canio, Joe Cole and Freddie Kanoute he established himself as a creative force to be reckoned with breaking into the England set-up and undoubtedly being the Three Lions star performer at the 2002 World Cup.

Under Slaven Bilic we’re now witnessing another intoxicating era for the Irons with some astute recruitment bringing in a number of outstanding talents to the east end. Chief among these of course is Dimitri Payet, a player overlooked by the rest of the Premier League whose magnificent displays are drawing comparisons with the very best. A clearly impressed Sinclair has no hesitation in putting the Frenchman up there with even the likes of Mesut Ozil.

“I think Ozil is a special player, he’s a World Cup winner and he’s been very instrumental in Arsenal’s play this year but I also think Payet has. The fact that he’s come into the Premier League in his first season and been as influential and got as many plaudits as he has shows we are talking about a top, top player.”

“Arsenal has a superior squad and are going for the title this year whereas Payet doesn’t have as strong a squad around him yet he’s still been exceptional in the chances he’s creating. He works hard for the team, he’s possibly more dangerous scoring goals than Ozil, and I definitely feel comfortable putting them in the same breath.”

West Ham can make the top four

That last great West Ham side ultimately endured relegation and was broken up through financial necessity. With the billions being pumped in to the top flight next season due to the new television deal there is little chance of that happening again and the immediate future looks very bright indeed for a club that still means a great deal to the 42 year old. The multi-million pound question however is in a league where nobody seems to be capable of sustaining a run of form is a Champions League spot a possibility?

“I don’t think it’s beyond them but they will need everybody at the club playing to the best of their ability. They’re going to need a lot of luck with injuries and obviously for other teams to fall away. A lot has been said about Leicester and whether they can sustain their standard and results and if they fall away there is no reason why West Ham can’t make top four.”
About the Author
Chad Holloway is a 2013 WSOP Bracelet winner who has previously worked for PokerNews as a managing editor and live reporter
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