Manchester City sell Marcos Lopes to Monaco for £9 million

MANCHESTER -- Manchester City sold Marcos Lopes to Monaco for £9 million on Friday, minutes after manager Manuel Pellegrini said he thought the winger would go out on loan.

The Portugal under-21 international, 20, enjoyed a successful season on loan in France last year when playing for Lille.

And now Lopes, who scored one goal in five games for City, has returned to Ligue 1 by signing for the Champions League quarterfinalists.

Lopes was deemed surplus to requirements at the Etihad Stadium as City stepped up their attempts to bring in Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg.

Pellegrini said Lopes needed first-team football but bizarrely denied he would sell Lopes minutes before his move to Monaco was announced.

He said in a news conference: "I think Marcos needs to play more at another club. He is a very good player. I am sure in the future he will be part of our club but for this year he must continue trying to play as much football as he can.

"Here he has a lot of competition with David [Silva] and Samir [Nasri] so it is better for him to go on loan."

Lopes expressed his excitement in joining the club:

He also thanked City in a series of messages on Twitter:

"My first words are for Manchester City fans who have supported me since my first days in the club... You are AMAZING and truly make this club GIANT!," he wrote.

"Want to thank everyone that worked with me in Man City since day 1 and a special word for Patrick Vieira: a great manager and coach & TOP MAN!

"Sorry I couldn't say proper bye to my mates at City but I'm sure our ways will meet again sometine soon. I know you will win many titles!

"I hope you keep supporting me as I will keep supporting City!"

As Lopes left City, striker Ruben Sobrino arrived with Ponferradina announcing they have sold the 23-year-old for €275,000.

Sobrino, who came through the ranks at Real Madrid, scored five goals in 41 games for the Spanish second division club.

As for the major transfer news surrounding City, Pellegrini was unwilling to speak about the club's interest in Wolfsburg's Kevin de Bruyne.

Klaus Allofs, director of sport at the German club, has revealed City have made an "astonishing" offer for the 24-year-old former Chelsea playmaker and discussions are thought to be ongoing.

But Pellegrini, who has consistently refused to speak about transfer targets, said: "You must continue asking but the answer for the question is the same. I don't talk about rumours."

Pellegrini was similarly unwilling to speak about his side's testing Champions League draw, which has pitted the club against Juventus, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach. The Chilean deflected a question on the matter by referring to Saturday's upcoming Premier League clash with Watford.

"All the groups are difficult and the most difficult team in the group is Watford," he said.

City are looking to maintain their 100 per cent start to the campaign and can set a new record of 10 successive wins by beating the promoted Hornets.

Pellegrini said: "It is a difficult game. They have played three games in the Premier League and three games they have drawn.

"They have a very good manager and good players and the great mistake we could make in this moment is to think that, because we won the last three games, we will win this game."