Sir Alex Ferguson ensured Manchester would be big in Japan when he swooped for Far East favourite Shinji Kagawa in August 2012, and now his managerial rival Roberto Mancini has followed suit by taking last year's Asian Young Footballer of the Year on trial at Eastlands.
Name: Hideki Ishige
Date of birth: 21 September, 1994
Birthplace: Shizuoka, Japan
Club: Shimuzu S-Pulse
Honours: Asian Young Footballer of the Year, 2011
What's the latest?
After the completion of Japan's J League in December 2012, Shimizu S-Pulse have given 18-year-old midfield starlet Hideki Ishige permission to train with Man City this week. Although there is no indication that City will make this move permanent, the Japanese side will not stand in the youngster's way if and when an attractive offer from Europe is presented to them, placing added pressure on City's eagle-eyed coaching set-up to judge Ishige's potential accurately.
Did you know?
1) Following in Shinji Ono's footsteps, Ishige is the second central midfielder to emerge from Japan's Shizuoka region, with both players clinching Asia's Young Footballer of the Year gong at the start of their professional career. Ono is now in the twilight of his playing days after enjoying four impressive seasons in the Netherlands with Feyenoord and three years at Bochum in the Bundesliga.
2) Unlike Ono, who was swiftly snapped up by J League giants Urawa Red Diamonds after graduating from high school in Shizuoka, Ishige was offered professional terms by local mid-table outfit S-Pulse, while still at school. He has been gradually bedded into first team action this year, making 16 appearances in the Japanese league and league cup.
3) There are few doubts over Ishige's technical ability with the youngster earning rave reviews for his deft touch, long range passing ability and a football brain far beyond his tender years. The biggest concern remains Ishige's slight frame and at just 5ft 6in, he will need to invest in some protein shakes to compete at the highest level.
4) It's thought that S-Pulse's experienced manager Afshin Ghotbi was instrumental in the deal that sees Ishige fly over to Manchester with an opportunity to train alongside some of the world's finest players. Ghoti has previously served as assistant to Gus Hiddink with the South Korea national side, spent time coaching at LA Galaxy and managed the Iran senior team.
5) Ishige first caught the eye of Europe's top scouts with three goals and several impressive performances to help fire Japan's U17 side into the 2011 U17 FIFA World Cup. The Japanese were eventually edged out 3-2 by Brazil.
Unfortunately, there were no highlights of Hideki Ishige available to embed from the web, but we did find this short video of the youngster addressing S-Pulse's YouTube following. Sadly, the huge time difference means our Japanese correspondent is currently getting tanked up at a New Year's party in Tokyo, and therefore unavailable to offer an accurate translation:
Would you like to see this young Japanese talent offered a deal at Man City? Are you happy with the club's progress this season? Let us know by leaving a comment below...