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

Man City Give Guardiola Deja Vu

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola expressed fears that his team’s goal-scoring problems remain an issue after they drew 1-1 with Everton in their opening Premier League home game.

Wayne Rooney put Everton ahead in the 35th minute on Monday and City had Kyle Walker controversially sent off before halftime, but the hosts hit back to level through substitute Raheem Sterling’s volley eight minutes from time.

City regularly struggled to kill teams off last season, drawing seven home games in the league, and when asked if his side’s latest display had brought to mind their travails from 2016-17, Guardiola replied: “Yep.

“We created three, four chances before the goal. They play man-to-man, six, eight players there, closing (down).

“(Ashley) Williams, (Phil) Jagielka, (Michael) Keane, (Leighton) Baines, all the guys, they are very good in one-against-one.

“We tried to find the way to attack them and we did it. (When the opposition) arrive once (in the box), score a goal, that can happen.

“Our amount of opportunities on target or close to the target was good. We were there all the time. We never gave up, with the spirit of the Mancunians.”

He added: “What we can do is try and create the chances. Maybe one day we’ll change, we’ll find it.

“Last season we were the first or second team for creating clear chances. I think the first one. We just made (scored) 16 percent.

“In that level, it’s results. In our box, it was perfect. They arrived once. But OK, we will improve.”

For the second time this season, Guardiola started with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus up front, but he withdrew Jesus at halftime as part of the reshuffle that followed Walker’s home-debut dismissal.

Booked for sliding in on Leighton Baines, Walker was shown a second yellow card by referee Robert Madley two minutes later following a fairly innocuous collision with Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

ROONEY A ‘TEACHER’

Guardiola refused to talk about Madley in his post-match press conference.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman also had reason to rue one of the referee’s decisions after he, too, lost a player to a harsh second booking, with Morgan Schneiderlin sent off late on after sliding in to tackle Aguero.

While Koeman acknowledged that Madley had a “difficult job”, he suggested Schneiderlin’s dismissal had been on the cards from the moment Walker trudged off.

“I was in a good position and in my opinion he (Schneiderlin) played the ball,” said Koeman, who gave a debut to record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson.

“But away against City, he’s sending off one player of City and a difficult situation, you know what the referee will do then. A yellow and his second and it’s red. You can expect it.”

Koeman said he had been “disappointed” to see Sterling equalize, but said it was a “good point” to take back to Merseyside.

Rooney’s goal, a first-time finish from Calvert-Lewin’s square pass, was his 200th in the Premier League.

The former Manchester United striker celebrated by cupping his ears in front of City’s fans, many of whom spent the entirety of the match goading him.

“He is still that player that every manager needs in his team and maybe more for Everton. He is back home,” said Koeman, who brought Rooney back to Goodison Park from United in July.

“We have young players. We had three players of 20 years on the pitch against City and they did a great job. He is that experienced player, that teacher of young players. We’d like to win titles and he knows how you win titles.

“It’s a big step up for the young players. Against Stoke I was really pleased about his performance.

“Also tonight, with that cleverness to know exactly in every moment what is the best decision. I’m very happy about him.”

 

 

Source: SuperSport

Pep Under Pressure To Be Better This Second Season

Fortified by Manchester City’s £200 million ($260 million) overhaul, Pep Guardiola is under pressure to ensure his second season in the Premier League is far more successful than his torrid first.

Guardiola had a troubled debut campaign at Eastlands as the Spaniard failing to win a trophy for the first time in his storied managerial career.

Third placed City finished 15 points behind Premier League champions Chelsea, crashed out of the Champions League against Monaco and failed to reach either of the domestic cup finals.

Guardiola has admitted such a lacklustre performance would have seen him sacked at his previous clubs Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

However, City, who start their Premier League campaign at promoted Brighton on Saturday, always intended to give Guardiola time to reload and a pre-season spree has put him in a position to get it right this time.

That building work has involved spending big on five major signings.

Close to £130 million was invested in full-backs as Guardiola shored up his defence with Tottenham’s Kyle Walker, Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy from Monaco and Real Madrid’s Danilo.

All three have the pace to change defence into attack quickly, something City lacked in the full-back positions last season.

Guardiola will hope goalkeeper Ederson, acquired from Benfica for £34.9 million, is less error prone than Claudio Bravo, whose dismal season was a major factor in City’s failed title challenge.

City looks stronger in attack too, with Bernardo Silva, bought from Monaco for £43 million, bringing extra creativity to the final third.

With January signing Gabriel Jesus over the injury trouble that stalled a promising start in England, City look well placed to compete for all the major trophies.

Mendy is likely to be absent on Saturday with a thigh injury, while Silva may start on the bench, having had only a short pre-season after helping Portugal to the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Guardiola could start with Jesus and Sergio Aguero up front, given he has used a 3-5-2 set-up for much of pre-season, which suggests Walker and Danilo are to be deployed as wing-backs.

The formation allows an extra man in midfield, which has proved to City’s advantage in warm-up victories over Tottenham, Real Madrid and West Ham.

“We feel ready because we’ve been at a good level but we have nothing to show for it at the moment,” said City captain Vincent Kompany.

“Keep doing what we’ve done in the last three games and it should be exciting.”

Immediately after Brighton secured promotion to the top-flight for the first time in 34 years, their chairman Tony Bloom warned he would not break the bank in a bid to avoid relegation.

But Albion shattered their transfer record earlier this week on PSV Eindhoven midfielder Davey Propper and was set to pass that mark with the £13 million acquisition of Colombia winger Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge ahead of City’s visit.

Those deals were small change compared to City’s spending of course and Chris Hughton’s signings have been offset by a broken leg for Beram Kayal that will keep the midfielder sidelined for around three months.

“The work starts from the day you get a promotion. It’s normal that the players and supporters are going to be celebrating for a period of time, but we have had to come down to reality,” Brighton boss Hughton said.

“This division is far tougher and we’ll certainly need all of the experienced heads around us.”

Guardiola Returns To Man City Drawing Board

Rattled by a chastening first season in England, Pep Guardiola has gone back to the drawing board in an attempt to fashion Manchester City into Premier League champions.

Expectations were sky-high when Guardiola alighted in Manchester after years of being courted by City, but a title challenge failed to materialise and his side did not make a mark in any of the cup competitions.

They return to the fray this weekend having spent around £200 million ($261 million, 221.3 million euros) on players and Guardiola believes an exciting new team is taking shape.

“With all respect to the players, last season we were one of the oldest teams in the Premier League. We didn’t buy full-backs for five, six years,” said Guardiola.

“We decided last season we could change the team to make the team younger for the next four or five years.

“Danilo is 26, (Benjamin) Mendy is 23, Bernardo (Silva) is 22, Ederson is 23, so we bought players who are going to be stable for the next years.”

There were some promising signs last season — an opening salvo of 10 straight wins, a stunning Champions League victory over Barcelona — but City never found any consistent form.

Guardiola seemed unprepared for the rude physicality of English football and was derided for saying he was “not a coach for the tackles” after a one-sided 4-2 defeat at Leicester City.

City’s football was, occasionally, dazzling and they were only outscored by champions Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, but finding an effective defensive configuration gave Guardiola a constant headache.

John Stones looked shaky following his big-money move from Everton and Guardiola’s dissatisfaction with his full-back options saw midfielders Fernandinho and Jesus Navas deployed in the wide defensive positions.

There should not be any shoehorning of players into unfamiliar roles this season after Guardiola signed three top-level full-backs — Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo — at a combined cost of around £124 million.

Aguero-Jesus conundrum 
Guardiola hopes to have put his goalkeeping problems to bed as well, having reacted to Claudio Bravo’s travails by bringing in Brazil goalkeeper Ederson from Benfica in a £35 million deal.

Bernardo Silva, meanwhile, arrived from Monaco, further strengthening a stellar attacking department that also contains Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

“Manchester City have the best team on paper,” ex-England midfielder Owen Hargreaves told the Premier League official website.

“It took a bit of an adjustment for Pep Guardiola, but City are my favourites.”

Back-up goalkeeper Willy Caballero, full-backs Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy and wingers Jesus Navas and Nolito have all left, while the unwanted Joe Hart has gone out on loan again to West Ham United.

Guardiola has tested out a three-man defence in pre-season, with Stones lining up alongside Nicolas Otamendi and captain Vincent Kompany, whose ability to remain fit will once again be under scrutiny.

Playing three at the back may enable Guardiola to associate Aguero and Jesus in attack, after he generally used a single-striker system last season following Jesus’s arrival in January.

Even more so than his old foe Jose Mourinho across town at Manchester United, if Guardiola cannot at the very least orchestrate a sustained title challenge, his gilded reputation will take a sizeable hit.

Last season was the first time in his managerial career that he finished a campaign without having added at least one trophy to his collection.

Another season without silverware will raise serious doubts as to whether he really is the man to carry City to the summit of European football for the first time.

Source: The Guardian

Fernando Leaves Man City For Galatasary

Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Fernando on Friday joined Turkish slub Galatasaray on a permanent deal, the Premier League team announced.

Fernando joined City in 2014 from Porto and went on to make 101 appearances, scoring four times.

He also helped City to League Cup success in 2016, playing five times en route to the trophy, including the final at Wembley against Liverpool.

“It’s been a pleasure to play for Manchester City. The club has looked after me incredibly well throughout my time here and I have enjoyed the challenge of playing for a top team is probably the world’s toughest league,” Fernando told the club’s official website.

“The League Cup success of 2016 was a highlight for me and something I will never forget.”

 

Source: Super Sport