Spanish second division side Girona have reached a loan agreement with Manchester City for the services of right-back Pablo Maffeo until the end of the campaign. The 18-year-old moved to the Premier League giants in the summer of 2013 after impressing scouts during his time at the Espanyol academy, having also represented his country at youth level.
Maffeo has since progressed through the youth ranks of the English club to establish himself as a crucial member of Under 21 side. The versatile full-back is yet to make his first-team debut under Manuel Pellegrini, but earlier this season made the bench to cover the absences of Pablo Zabaleta in the Champions League games against Juventus and Borussia Mönchengladbach and the Premier League encounters with Watford and West Ham United.
Now Girona, who are 17th in the Spanish second division, have confirmed he will join their ranks on loan for the remainder of the campaign to help continue his development.
"Girona FC have added 18-year-old defender Pablo Maffeo to the squad from Manchester City. The player, who will be on loan at the club until end of season, will have a medical on 13 January before making his first training session with his new teammates in the afternoon. On Friday he will be unveiled at the press room of the Estadi Montilivi," the Spanish club stated on its official website.
"Formed in the academy of the RCD Espanyol he excelled in all categories before signing for Manchester City, where he has played with the youth team and with the Under-21s. Maffeo, acting at right-back, has been a constant presence in the Spanish youth national teams, with the Under-15s, Under-16s, Under-17s and Under-19s."
Maffeo had undertaken a number of first-team training sessions in Manchester during the first part of the season. Earlier inOctober, speaking with the club's website, he admitted he was living a dream, while claiming that the Spanish speakers in Pellegrini's ranks were helping him to adapt to the club.
"The season is going well, I am enjoying it here and I think I'm playing well but I can still improve in all areas," he told mcfc.co.uk. "I'm spending a lot of time with the first team because there have been a lot of injuries in the full-back positions but I'm also playing matches with the EDS [Elite Development Squad], so I'm happy to be training and getting experience with the seniors. It's like a dream!
"Everyone there is nice with you and treats you well to make you feel comfortable. Obviously I have more connection with the Spanish players, Jesus Navas especially, we speak a lot of the time – he's crazy, it's good!
"Zabaleta is like my father in there – he's always laughing with us. When you need advice, he's a great person to have around."