Hughes hails Johnson deal
Mark Hughes has expressed his delight at midfielder Michael Johnson signing a new long-term deal.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 17/09/08 7:28pm
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has expressed his delight at midfielder Michael Johnson signing a new long-term deal.
City are set to be taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group, with Hughes expecting the £210million deal to be completed by the time they return on Friday from their UEFA Cup tie against AC Omonia.
Yet although the prospective owners have vowed to follow the deadline-day signing of Robinho by bankrolling a host of big-name signings in January, Hughes insists securing the future of their young stars is equally important.
Johnson is one of City's best Academy products and was linked with Arsenal, Aston Villa, Everton and Liverpool while he was locked in contract talks with City.
But on Tuesday the 20-year-old ended speculation over his future by putting pen to paper on a five-year deal.
"I am delighted Michael has signed," said Hughes. "It dragged on a bit but now we have reached a conclusion and that is good news.
"He has been playing consistently well and deserves his reward for those performances.
"City are a club that encourages young players and this is another example of that policy."
Johnson travelled to Cyprus with the City squad but remains doubtful because of a groin injury.
Martin Petrov stayed at home to continue treatment on a hamstring problem, although new signings Robinho, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta are all eligible.
Petrov has missed two games so far and Hughes expects the Bulgarian winger to be out of Sunday's visit by Portsmouth and possibly next Wednesday's Carling Cup tie at Brighton.
"Martin was very close to being involved but then felt some tightness in his hamstring," said the City boss.
"We had it checked and the thinking is he will be out for a week to 10 days.
"We hope that is the case because Martin gives us another threat. Ideally we
would have liked his talents tomorrow but that is not the case. We hope to have him back sooner rather than later."