Man City take title as United crash to West Brom

Manchester City were confirmed as Premier League champions without kicking a ball on Sunday as rock bottom West Brom stunned Manchester United with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.

United simply had to avoid defeat to keep the title race mathematically alive, but a late header from Jay Rodriguez gave West Brom a hugely surprising three points and finally gave their fans something to cheer this season.

More importantly, though, it means Pep Guardiola’s City team cannot now be caught at the top of the table, thus handing the Catalan coach his first Premier League crown in just his second year in English football.

Realistically it was always a matter of when and not if City would become English champions for a fifth time following a dominant season from the blue half of Manchester.

But, just a week after spoiling City’s title party by beating their local rivals 3-2 at the Etihad, the way United abjectly gifted the title to their neighbours will sting.

United’s comeback at the Etihad from a 2-0 half-time deficit offered their supporters a rare fillip of flair and excitement after a difficult season where their style of play has hardly endeared Jose Mourinho to the club’s fanbase.

And that was also the case on Sunday, as United failed to spark the imagination in any tangible way even though they were playing a side that had hadn’t won in the league since January.

West Brom sacked manager Alan Pardew at the start of April after just four months following one win in his 18 matches in charge, but even a famous win at Old Trafford may be too little, too late for the Baggies as they still lie nine points off safety with just four games remaining.

United dominated possession early on, but despite the efforts of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, precious little real impact was made by the home side.

Lukaku saw one shot cannon back off the face of West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster, while Pogba’s desire to make a difference saw him booked after half an hour for attempting to steer the ball into the net with a very obvious, very deliberate handball.

Prompted by the abject nature of the opening 45 minutes, Mourinho brought on Jesse Lingard at half-time and he was immediately in the heart of the action as United attempted to wake from their slumber.

West Brom, to their credit, also kept probing forward but they lacked the class required to really open United up at the back.

Mourinho attempted to end the stalemate – and the tedium – by introducing Anthony Martial with half an hour remaining and his introduction undoubtedly lifted the quiet Old Trafford atmosphere.

Increasingly poor conditions and a general lack of thrust continued to inhibit both sides, but United did force Foster into wonderfully save on 66 minutes when he tipped a Lukaku effort around the post.

However, the plucky visitors then sensationally seized their chance when Chris Brunt delivered a corner from the right with 17 minutes remaining. Nemanja Matic panicked at the delivery and headed back inside to Rodriguez, who could not miss from three yards out.

United, sensing the impact of the result, threw everything forward but West Brom displayed some new-found defensive fortitude and held on for a famous victory.

United will want to forget the result and its significance as quickly as they can.

However, the fans of West Brom — and certainly Manchester City — are likely to remember it for quite some time.

(AFP)

Manchester City Signs laporte For  A Club Record Fee Of £57m

Manchester City have finally landed Athletic Bilbao’s defender Aymeric Laporte  for a club record fee of £57m.

The French player who is yet to get a cap for france, takes Premier League clubs’ spending  this month to £252m – a record for a January transfer window.

The 23-year-old’s arrival takes City manager Pep Guardiola’s spending on defenders and a goalkeeper since the end of last season to £215.5m.

The club’s previous record fee was the £55m paid for Kevin de Bruyne in 2015.

Laporte’s ManCity Move Almost Completed

Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte on Monday  paid his release fee clause ahead of a move to Manchester City, the Spanish club.

The 23-year old had a 65 million-euro ($80 million) clause in his contract with the Basque side, which he activated ahead of joining Pep Guardiola’s City for whom he will become a club record signing.

Spanish and British media reported that Laporte will be unveiled as a City player on Tuesday as the Premier League leaders bolster their back line by recruiting the France Under-21 player.

“Athletic thanks the player for what he gave during the time he was at our club,” Bilbao said in a statement.

At 57 million pounds, Laporte will overtake Kevin De Bruyne (55 million pounds) as the club’s most expensive signing.

Aymeric Laporte passed his Manchester City medical on Sunday and will be presented officially on Tuesday. City have informed the Basque club that they will pay his release clause today, with their lawyers moving to Madrid from Bilbao to finalise the deal. [El Correo]

Frequent injuries to Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany and Guardiola’s lack of faith in Eliaquim Mangala meant the Catalan coach wanted to add another central defender to challenge Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones.

Laporte has been a regular in the Athletic side since breaking through in the 2012-13 season, winning the 2015 Spanish Super Cup.

“I want to thank you for everything you have given me,” said Laporte in a message attached to Athletic’s statement.

“I arrived as a teenager and here I have grown into a person and a football player. I don’t want my departure, ahead of a new challenge in my professional career, to be a goodbye but a see you soon. Here I leave a unique, different club, and one I will never forget.”

 

We Are Not Satisfied Yet – Guardiola

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City proved against Newcastle United that their title charge will not be affected by self approval as they returned to winning ways after they were defeated by Liverpool.

 

Premier League sitting leaders reacted well to their first domestic loss of the season at Anfield on January 14 by defeating the Magpies 3-1 with a Sergio Aguero scoring a hat-trick.

 

Guardiola had said beforehand it was important that his players responded well and he feels the display at the home Stadium, which maintained a 12-point lead at the top, showed their flexibility.

 

“I said many times it was going to happen, we can lose, so (it is) important the reaction we have to do,” said the manager.

 

“Still we have 42 points to play (for). It is 14 games. It is a lot of games to play and difficult games like Saturday and like Liverpool. It is important to show the team is still there but I don’t have the feeling we give up.

 

“We want to go through to the final in the (League) Cup and the FA Cup, so (we have) a lot of games but I think the people have the desire to keep going, to keep going, to keep going.

 

“Even with 12 points it is important to see the personality, the team and try to do the things with no mistakes. Never did I not see it this season and that is why I am so proud to be their manager.”

 

City have earned plenty of plaudits as they have dominated the Premier League this season.

 

But Guardiola, whose side are also still challenging in three other competitions, does not want to reflect on that yet and wants his players to focus only the games ahead.

 

He said: “I said to them until fixture 24 we were the best team but that doesn’t count. It counts after fixture 38.

 

“Still we have 14 and to win 10 or 11 games will be tough. Every team will play for something, to stay (up), for Europa League, Champions League and will be focused.

 

 

 

“I said, ‘don’t look back, look at what we have to achieve,’ because if you try to (look at) what happened behind, that is not a good solution from my experience.”

Pep Panic As Real Madrid In Contact With Man City Brahim Diaz

Real Madrid is ready to drop their interest in Tottenham ace Dele Alli in favour for another Premier League starlet.

Real president Florentino Perez is in the market for a new attacking midfielder and is shopping in England for a solution.

Alli has been under consideration, however, Diario Gol says Perez is now switching his focus to Manchester City whizkid Brahim Diaz.

Tied to City until 2019, Diaz’s representatives are already in talks with Real intermediaries.

The midfielder, who joined City three years ago from Malaga, enjoys a huge reputation in Spain but is yet to force his way into manager Pep Guardiola’s senior plans.

Guardiola is aware of Real’s approach and has already spoken to Diaz, urging him to be patient.

Source: Tribal Football

Cavani Eager To Play For Man City

Eddison Cavani PSG striker prefers Manchester City better than Real Madrid

Don Balon says Cavani favours City because he believes he will get more chances to score than at any other club.

Cavani and Neymar had a public falling out after arguing over the penalty and free-kick duties during a 2-0 victory over Lyon earlier this season.

The 30-year-old is said to have told club officials that he wants to choose his next destination, with Premier League leaders City his No 1 pick.

Real Madrid is also believed to be interested in signing Cavani in January.

 

Man City Fear Losing Alexis Signing To PSG After Stunning Offer

Manchester City fear being trumped by PSG in the race for wantaway Arsenal attacker Alexis Sanchez.

City boss Pep Guardiola was confident the 28-year-old wanted to join them, despite a failed £60m pursuit in the previous transfer window.

But Paris Saint-Germain is ramping up their interest and want him to partner Neymar and Kylian Mbappe upfront.

Sanchez met with PSG chiefs in the French capital this summer, where they discussed a potential transfer.

He demanded a staggering £400,000-a-week, which the Ligue 1 side admitted they could not afford to pay.

But Unai Emery’s team did tell him they would hand him a hefty signing on fee and top City’s offer of £275,000-a-week.

It is understood PSG will offload Edinson Cavani, who recently had a bust-up with Neymar over a free-kick to make way for Sanchez.

 

 

Source: Tribal Football

Goal-Hungry Man City Can Still Improve, Says Guardiola

Pep Guardiola says his free-scoring Manchester City side can still improve — in a chilling message to Premier League rivals — but is refusing to get carried away by their electrifying early-season form.

City hammered Watford 6-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday to complete three wins in seven days, scoring 15 goals without reply.

Hailing full-back recruits Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy for transforming City’s blueprint, Guardiola, whose side are top of the Premier League alongside Manchester United, said his team is nowhere near their peak.

“Even if it looks like we cannot improve, of course, we can improve,” said Guardiola. “There’s still movement, there are still actions we can improve.

“The full-backs are so important. They offer energy to go up and down so that means we can put more players in the middle, to play, to pass the sort passes.”

“I like it when we play short passes through the middle, five, six meters, that gives us continuity,” he added. “We create the spaces behind the press.

“To do that you need more players in one position. And Kyle (Walker) and Danilo and Mendy help us a lot to be able to do that. Without that, it would be even more complicated.”

Sergio Aguero’s sixth Premier League hat-trick on Saturday leaves the 29-year-old three goals shy of breaking City’s all-time scoring record, held by Eric Brook with 177 strikes.

But Guardiola, in comments reported by the British press on Monday, remains cautious.

Asked if he considers City now ready to go toe-to-toe with the likes of reigning champions Chelsea, Guardiola replied: “We will see. But I think we’ve made a step forward in terms of last season.

“My feeling now is that everybody knows what we have to do, the players know what they have to do, with, without the ball in transition. And that’s so important.”

“We weren’t good enough last season, Chelsea and Tottenham were better,” Guardiola added. “You have to accept it.

“You have to accept sometimes the opposition is better. Then you analyze why to improve for the future.”

 

 

 

Source: The Guardian

Aldridge Arraigned Klopp For Loosing Hope In Man City

Liverpool legend John Aldridge has accused Jurgen Klopp of “throwing in the towel” against Manchester City.

City thrashed Liverpool 5-0 with Sadio Mane being sent off for the Reds.

Aldridge wrote for the Sunday World: “City were 1-0 up when the red card came, but Liverpool had been the better team up to that point and with Mohamed Salah tearing strips off Nicolas Otamendi, you could envisage a scenario that saw City reduced to ten men if that battle had been allowed to continue.

“City’s defense looked as woeful as Liverpool’s in the first third of the match and they were let off the hook when Mane made his untimely exit.

“After that, I got the impression that Klopp decided to throw the towel in on this game at half-time, as he took Salah off with one eye on Tuesday night’s Champions League game against Sevilla.

“The idea was to avoid getting a hammering, but it was always going to be difficult against a City side that plays a style of football that can be devastating when they have a man advantage.”

 

What Is Driving Stunning Transfer Spending?

A record-breaking transfer window has seen the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Barcelona spend hundreds of millions of euros so far on new players.

With all the major European leagues except Spain closing for business on Thursday, AFP Sport takes a look at how, and why, clubs are splashing such large amounts of cash.

Foreign investment
The close season’s two biggest spenders so far have been Manchester City, taken over by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour in 2008, and Paris Saint-Germain, who have been the beneficiaries of Qatar’s billions, fronted by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, since 2011.

The exact worth of these two men is hard to calculate, as they come from wealthy royal families and are in essence representatives of their oil- and gas-rich countries.

But both have piled money into their respective clubs.

City has been one of Europe’s biggest spenders since stunning the Premier League with a 42-million-euro signing of Robinho on transfer deadline day in 2008, while PSG rocked the entire football world by paying a world record of 222 million euros ($264 million) to sign Neymar from Barcelona this summer.

The money does not just come from the Middle East though — Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich started the new breed of billionaire foreign owners when he bought Chelsea in 2003.

The Chinese are starting to take a slice of European football too. Businessman Li Yonghong took out a 300-million-euro loan to buy AC Milan, but was still able to spend 40 million euros on signing defender Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus in July.

Political statements
The most stunning move of the close season came when PSG paid Neymar’s release clause to prise the Brazilian playmaker away from Barcelona.

The move came after the start of a diplomatic crisis in June that saw countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar and impose trade and travel bans.

For Qatari Al-Khelaifi to spend 222 million euros on Neymar, plus a possible 180mn on Monaco youngster Kylian Mbappe, sent a “strong signal to the world of sport” and is a “challenge” to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to political analyst Andreas Krieg of King’s College London.

TV billions
The Premier League is football’s bastion when it comes to producing eye-popping figures, and its £5.14-billion (5.59 billion euros) TV rights deal has given English top-flight clubs extremely deep pockets.

The last deal was agreed in 2015, and saw Sky pay £4.2bn for five of seven TV packages, with BT Sports buying the other two.

That groundbreaking agreement was worth 71 percent more than the previous rights deal in 2012.

BT announced after the auction in 2015 that it would be paying £7.6 million for each live game.

TV rights for Spain’s La Liga went for a comparatively small three-year deal worth 2.65 billion euros, while rights for France’s Ligue 1 are worth 748.5 million euros a year.

The bumper deal for the Premier League has had two clear effects — clubs in other European leagues now know that they can hold out for much larger transfer fees when English sides bid for their players, while moves between Premier League teams are becoming more and more expensive.

Sponsorship soaring
It is not just TV rights pumping money into football clubs, but sponsorship deals.

Car manufacturer Chevrolet pay 67 million euros annually to have their logo given pride of place on Manchester United’s shirt, while Nike will pay Barcelona at least 150 million euros a year for the privilege of making their jerseys.

Earlier this month, Bayern Munich announced that they had agreed on a deal for Qatar’s Hamad International Airport to become their first-ever ‘sleeve sponsor’.

Deals of that nature hasten the globalization of football and indirectly push up transfer fees.

Marketing gold
Football players are becoming bigger stars than they were in the 20th century, partly because of the impact of the internet and social media on the accessibility of the big leagues around the world.

PSG president Al-Khelaifi claimed after signing Neymar that the Brazilian superstar would be worth 450 million euros “soon”.

Fans flocked to the PSG superstore on the Champs-Elysees in Paris the day after his signing to buy shirts with Neymar’s name on the back for up to 160 euros each.

Big clubs get bigger
Despite a new, more collective La Liga rights deal, Real Madrid and Barcelona still receive between 140 million to 150 million euros a year each.

The clubs that finish higher understandably win more prize money, meaning rich owners will pile cash into football’s giants, safe in the knowledge that plenty of it will be repaid.

Footballers union FIFPro claimed the current window showed how the sport has become “the domain of a select group of rich, mostly European-based clubs”.

But the fact is, Europe’s giants will continue to pour money into signing new players, as long as there are clear benefits.

Even when forgetting sponsorship deals and domestic TV rights, there is plenty of cash to be made, as shown by the fact UEFA paid more than 1.34 billion euros in prize money for the 2015-2016 Champions League.

 

 

 

Source: Super Sport

Club Threatens To Sue Man City Over Unpaid Iheanacho £7m Fees

Owerri-based Taye Academy has threatened to sue Manchester City over an alleged £7 million owed the club from the sale of Super Eagles’ striker, Kelechi Iheanacho to the English side.

Iheanacho joined the national U-17 team from Taye Academy and was later transferred to Manchester City following the exploits of the team, which won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the UAE in 2013.

According to Taye Academy, Manchester City is yet to pay Iheanacho’s full transfer fee and obtained the Nigerian international in 2014 through a fraudulent means orchestrated by one Raymond Hassay of American-based First Eleven Management.

Hassay allegedly gave Mr. Kennedy Ezenwere, the chairman of Taye Academy, the sum of $337,952 from his personal account and at no time did Manchester City pay any transfer fee to Taye Academy for the services of Iheanacho.

Speaking exclusively to HotSports, the legal adviser of Taye Football Academy, Okenna Onyenucheya warned Manchester City that they cannot be bullied and are ready to obtain what rightfully belongs to them by any legal means necessary.

“Kelechi Iheanacho transferred from our academy, Taye Football Academy to Manchester City in the year 2014. The whole deal was shrouded in secrecy and my clients’ naivety and blind trust were abused to rip the club off.

“Our clients were not given a copy of the contract which they are supposed to have since 2014 and when we became involved we made several efforts through Barrister Johnny Ogbah to get a copy of the contract from Manchester City but they have refused to give us a copy or even reply our letters.

“However, the whole thing smells fishy and we have good grounds to believe that they were in on the whole thing right from the start because every time they receive a letter on the issue they immediately inform First Eleven and they, in turn, will call us trying to persuade us to drop the matter,” Onyenaucheya continued.

“We are exploring our options and very soon the whole world will hear everything that went down because these people have not been sincere
with Taye Football Academy at all,” he added.

If Manchester City is found to have signed Iheanacho from First Eleven Management, instead of Taye Academy, then they could face FIFA ban for breaching third-party ownership laws.

FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee has in the past imposed sanctions on several clubs for breaches relating to third-party influence and/or third-party ownership of players’ economic rights (TPO).

 

Source: The Guardian