In this article read about the ups and downs of former Football Manager wonderkid Gai Assulin and find out where he is now and what he's up too.
This Israeli wonderkid came up the ranks through FC Barcelona’s youth group after Assulin’s parents were encouraged by his team coach to try out. Assulin made it onto FC Barcelona B team in 2007 and was offered a new contract for 3 years with a €20 million buy out clause. During his time in Barcelona’s B team, Gai made 67 appearances and scored 13 goals for the club. Assulin was expected to be promoted to Barcelona’s first team when Pep Guardiola was made senior team manager due to his performance and potential. Despite missing most of the 2008/09 season because of injury, Assulin was invited to participate in pre-season matches with the Barcelona first team. Gai’s first team debut happened in a match against Cultural Leonesa on 28th October 2009.
Sadly Assulin ended up parting ways with Barcelona on a mutual agreement in July 2010 after offering him a contract with no guarantee of first team play and the offer to develop him via Barcelona's team B. However things started to look up for Assulin when he was offered a contract to join Manchester City on a 2 and a half year deal in mid December 2010. Assulin finally had a chance again to be able to use his skill and potentially play for Manchester City’s first team. This was not meant to be for poor Gai as he was only offered the chance to play as a reserve. Gai made his debut for the team as a reserve against Newcastle United in the second half of the game during early 2011. By the end of that same year, Assulin had made it clear he was prepared to be loaned out at the chance for some first team play, Assulin said "I need confidence and I can only get that by playing regularly. City and I both feel that I should go out on loan so I can play every week. I could stay in England or maybe join a team in the Spanish second division".
Six days after the announcement, Barnsley reported that they had made a deal for a loan until 3rd January 2012, with Barnsley's manager saying he was impressed by Assulin’s performance for Israel’s under-21 against England at the club's Oakwell ground in September. This was not meant to be and the high hopes everyone once had for Assulin seemed dashed by a fitness issue that ended the deal.
Determined to prove everyone wrong, Assulin scored for the Manchester City Development Squad in a 4-2 Derby win over Manchester United. He also managed to score the 2-2 equaliser during the Manchester Senior Cup. It seemed Assulin still had his talent and was most likely on people’s shortlist still at this point.
In mid February 2012 Assulin joined Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion on an initial 1 month loan until March 19th. The loan was described as a ‘no brainer and a unique opportunity by Brighton and Hove manager Gustavo Poyet. Assulin made 7 appearances during his loan time with Brighton and Hove as the club extended the loan deal until the end of the season. Gai was released from Manchester City on 22nd March 2012.
Although Assulin had several opportunities and a lot of talent behind the hype, his career wasn’t moving forward and Assulin went from club to club not impressing anyone to the degree he once had. At the beginning of 2021 Assulin signed with Italy’s Serie D Club Crema but then left by the end of the season. Assulin is still floating around the football scene but the potential everyone once saw is no longer there. Were you a Gai Assulin fan?