Man City transfer verdict: Guardiola must fix dodgy defence
New manager steals the headlines but a dry January means City must rely on what they've got for rest of the season
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Man City transfer news: fight for Javier Pastore looms
A tug of war is looming between Manchester City and Chelsea with Argentine ace Javier Pastore the man in the middle.
According to the Daily Express, both clubs "are monitoring" his situation at Paris Saint-Germain, but so too are Juventus with the Italian champs apparently ready to blow the English suitors out of the water and stump up the French club's asking price of £40m.
French media outlet BuzzSport even claims Juventus are "favourites" to sign the 26-year-old Argentine international.
Pastore is allegedly unhappy at his lack of game time at PSG thanks to the presence of Angel di Maria and Lucas Moura in midfield. But his move to Italy could yet fall through if Juventus fail to raise the cash they need by offloading Paul Pogba this month.
Pogba has been linked to Barcelona and Chelsea over the Christmas period, but if there is no deal then Pastore could be on his way to England after all.
Meanwhile, the Manchester Evening News carries news of reports on the continent focusing on Pep Guardiola's wishlist for when he takes over at the Etihad. Spanish sources are convinced the Bayern Munich manager will be joining City at the end of the season and claim that he has identified Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan as the man to take over from the ageing Yaya Toure in midfield.
Man City transfer news: Pedro and Fabregas want Guardiola reunion
With Pep Guardiola tipped to take over at the Etihad at the end of the season the media have been quick to link him to potential new recruits at the Etihad.
Among them are Chelsea stars Cesc Fabregas and Pedro. The pair, who played for Guardiola at Barcelona, "have had their difficulties this season at Stamford Bridge", reports Metro, and would be keen to hook up with their old boss.
Fabregas has come in for criticism from some Chelsea fans for his part in the downfall of Jose Mourinho, while Pedro, who only joined in the summer must be wondering what he has got himself into. Given their poor form and Chelsea's woes this season, their biggest challenge would be convincing Guardiola to invest in them.
With Manchester City losing ground on Leicester and Arsenal in the title race, could one solution be a big money move for Partizan Belgrade winger Andrija Zivkovic? Yes, says the Daily Star, which claims the Citizens "have entered the race" for the Serb wideman.
That will cause concern for both Arsenal and Chelsea who have also been linked to Zivkovic in recent months. The pair are even believed to have sent scouts to check out the Partizan pearl but Manuel Pellegrini is ready to "launch a bid for the player" in order to fill the void left by Samir Nasri's lengthy injury. Zivkovic, who has scored 11 goals in 16 games for Partizan, is said to be open to a move to England and Partizan are likely to sell the player for the right sum.
Man City transfer news: Pep Guardiola to sign Luis Suarez
As the Sky Blues prepare for tonight's crucial Premier League clash with Arsenal, have they already started planning for next season? The Daily Star thinks so and reports that Pep Guardiola is set to take over from Manuel Pellegrini in the summer.
The Spaniard announced on Sunday his departure from Bayern Munich at the end of the season, and the smart money is on Guardiola taking up the reins at the Etihad.
And if he does, the Star predicts that one of his first moves will be to "sign £100m-rated Luis Suarez". The Uruguayan, who scored twice for Barcelona in their 3-0 thrashing of River Plate in the Club World Cup at the weekend, is the prime target for Guardiola, himself a former manager of the Catalan giants.
So why is the Star so confident the deal will go through? Because Suarez’s agent "just happens to be Pere Guardiola", better known to Pep as his brother.
Man City transfer news: Messi deal would cost £1m a week
Money does appear to grow on trees in Manchester and The Sun claims that Man City are hoping to match local rivals United by luring a Barcelona megastar to the Etihad.
After it was reported that United are willing to pay Neymar a mind-boggling £500k a week, it seems that City are gearing up to make Lionel Messi an offer he can't resist.
The paper says City's transfer guru Khaldoon al Mubarak is working overtime to "pull off the biggest transfer coup in history" for the Barcelona goal machine.
Money is said to be "no object" as City close in on the 28-year-old Messi who is likely to cost £150m in transfer fees from the Camp Nou. Then the Sun says Messi will "demand a weekly wage of £1m" - no, that's not a typo, the Argentine wants to earn £1,000,000 every seven days - over three years, with the possibility of a move to City's sister club, New York City, in the twilight of his career.
The deal would be made possible because of the TV money coming City's way, not to mention all the commercial deals and merchandise opportunities that a deal for Messi would create.
And Messi isn't the only big name player on City's radar, according to the Sun, which says that they are increasingly confident of signing French midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus. It's reported that the Sky Blues are ready to pay the Italian champions £75m for the young playmaker, with a wage package of £70m over five years to follow.
Man City transfer news: Yaya Toure out, Pep Guardiola and Alexis Sanchez in
Could Yaya Toure finally leave the Etihad? The 31-year-old has been eyeing the exit door for several seasons and could be tempted by what The Sun describes as a "staggering" deal from China, with Shanghai SIPG apparently ready to hand the Manchester City skipper £24m to quit the club.
The paper says that the Chinese outfit "have prepared a three-year contract worth the equivalent of £300,000-a-week in England" such is their determination to prise the veteran Ivory Coast midfielder from England.
Although Shanghai would like to sign Toure next month, the Sun says they are ready to to wait until the end of the season if needs be. Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson manages the Far Eastern side and reports suggest that Toure is likely to accept the offer because at his age he won't get a better one from a European club. It's not known if Shanghai have also promised to give him a big cake for his birthday.
Meanwhile, Metro reports that City are lining up a "stunning approach" for Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez who will be the cherry on the top of Pep Guardiola's welcome cake.
The paper claims that Guardiola, currently in charge at Bayern Munich, will take over at the Etihad in the summer and he's already asked City to land the Gunners front man.
The pair worked together at Barcelona and the Spanish coach wants Sanchez at City to launch a new era of football.
Man City transfer news: Sky Blues prepare £28m bid for Mauro Icardi
Still on a high after their Champions League exploits on Wednesday, Arsenal may have to batten down the hatches in the weeks to come because the Sky Blues are going to "blow them out of the water".
That's according to the Daily Star, which says City are preparing to table a £28m bid for Mauro Icardi. The Gunners and Liverpool have both been pursuing the 22-year-old but Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport claims that City "have identified Icardi as a potential marque signing".
With the injury-prone Sergio Aguero and the stuttering Wilfried Bony failing to catch fire this season, Manuel Pellegrini needs a hitman and the Star says that that man is Icardi. But that's news to Dejan Stankovic, Inter's assistant coach, who said when asked about Icardi's future: "I hear transfer rumours for the January window but I can absolutely deny all that."
That's what they all say.
Man City transfer news: Sky Blues tussle with Chelsea for James Rodriguez
Manuel Pellegrini is lining up a New Year bid for James Rodriguez but according to Metro the Real Madrid attacking midfielder is also on Chelsea's Christmas list.
The 24-year is said to be "eyeing a move away" from Madrid in the summer, and the Sky Blues are apparently one of several clubs jockeying for position in the race to land the Colombian.
According to Metro, Rodriguez has been "unhappy with life at the Bernabeu" since the arrival of Rafael Benitez, and has instructed agent Jorge Mendes to seek out a new employer among Europe's leading clubs.
Chelsea are said to be looking for a replacement for Eden Hazard, believed to be on his way out of the Bridge next month, but they will have competition: Pellegrini is also after reinforcements for the second half of the season.
Man City transfer news: Suarez and Messi won't leave Barcelona
The world's most famous flesh-eater has rubbished suggestions he could ever leave Barcelona for Manchester City. The man in question - the one, the only, the hungry Luis Suarez - has been linked of late with a huge money move to the Etihad, along with teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar.
But Goal.com reports that the former Liverpool striker, speaking at an Adidas event on Thursday afternoon, had this to say when asked about the rumours of returning to England: "I suffered a lot to get here, it's the club I always wanted to play for. Even if [another club] offered me triple the money to leave, I wouldn't leave."
And the Uruguayan also had the temerity to speak on behalf of fellow South American, Messi, when it was put to him the Argentine might leave for City in June: "For me, it's impossible that Messi goes."
And Man City fans were given more food for thought by Sergio Aguero who has announced that he will not extend his Man City contract and will instead return to South America to play for his boyhood club Independiente, reports the Evening Standard. Fortunately for the blue half of Manchester that won't happen until 2019.
Man City transfer news: was Pogba in Manchester for talks?
All it takes is one photo to set tongues wagging, and that's what has happened after Paul Pogba was snapped leaving a Manchester restaurant.
The 22-year-old wouldn't be drawn on what he was doing in the north-west, though he might have been visiting old pals from his time as a Manchester United trainee a few years ago, but The Sun believes Pogba's presence in Manchester means only one thing - "a big money move to neighbours City".
The French midfielder, described by the paper as "one of the hottest properties in European football" has been linked with Chelsea and Barcelona, as well as the Sky Blues in recent months.
Juventus are allegedly demanding £75m for Pogba, a sum that is well within City's means following Tuesday's £265m investment deal with a Chinese consortium. Barca, on the other hand, can't stretch to such a sum and Chelsea's problem is that right now they are not guaranteed to be playing in next season's Champions League.
That leaves City in the box seat and the Sun believes the purchase of Pogba could be "the start of a spending spree" that includes an audacious swoop for the Barcelona trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Man City transfer news: Chinese cash to bankroll Lionel Messi deal?
Manchester City's owners this week agreed a massive deal to sell 13 per cent of the club to a consortium of Chinese investors for £265m.
The deal values City at £3bn, and The Sun believes it has increased the likelihood of Lionel Messi moving to the Etihad next season.
Rumours emerged last week suggesting the Barcelona striker might be thinking of leaving the Camp Nou for Manchester, and the paper says the deal with China Media Capital Holdings "could see City potentially have enough funds to launch a bid" for the four-time Ballon d'Or winner.
The deal is a coup for Sheikh Mansour, who purchased City for just £210m in 2008. Not only has he seen the value of his investment skyrocket, he believes the transaction will help the Sky Blues build on their growing fanbase in the Far East, reports the BBC.
What better way to do that that buy the world's best player? And the deal seems tailor made for that purpose. It would cost around £120m to prise Messi from Barcelona, and the remaining £145m would almost cover the 28-year-old Argentine's a weekly wage of £800,000 for the length of a four-year contract.
Man City transfer news: Javier Pastore to choose Etihad
Manchester City have jumped to the front of the queue in the tussle to sign Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Javier Pastore, according to Talksport.
Taking its cue from Italian gossip site Tutto Mercato, the broadcaster says that the Premier League leaders "are set to beat Juventus" to the hand of the 26-year-old thanks in part to the presence of so many fellow Argentines at the Etihad.
With Nicolas Otamendi, Pablo Zabaleta, Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis, Bruno Zuculini and Willy Caballero already part of Manuel Pellegrini' squad, Pastore is being drawn towards Manchester rather than Turin.
Talksport claims that City are "preparing to lodge a sizeable bid" for Pastore and they are cautiously optimistic that they will welcome the South American to Manchester in the summer.
However, Demichelis might not be at the Etihad for too much longer, reports the Manchester Evening News. The defender is now 34 and "with his one-year Blues contract due to expire next summer, he is almost certain to return to his homeland to end his career", says the paper.
Clubs including River Plate, Rosario Central and San Lorenzo are all keen to sign him.
Man City transfer news: Messi deal 'on' – Barcelona set to sell
There are claims of a world exclusive at The Sun with the paper boasting that their sources have it good authority that Lionel Messi "is open to a move to Manchester City". What's more the Citizens would be willing to meet the Argentine ace's wage demands of £800,000-a-week.
Earlier in the month a wild rumour circulated to the effect that Arsenal were chasing the Barcelona striker but that was taken about as seriously as that story suggesting Jack Wilshere may soon be fit. The story also put Messi's salary expectations at a modest £600,000-a-week.
However, the Sun says insists this time the interest is genuine and Messi's representatives "have had initial discussions" about a move to City which would see the 28-year-old sign a deal estimated to be worth in the region £40m a year. The paper adds that Messi "would pocket around £32m for playing with the rest paid in image rights and bonuses".
But would Barcelona be willing to sell their star striker? Yes, says the Sun, which states that as long as his buy-out clause is met, the European champions are "believed to be open to offers". That clause, provisionally set at £250m, could be halved by the Catalan club who apparently have "prioritised the renewal of Neymar's contract over Messi". That's left the latter a little peeved and, together with his tax evasion charges, added to Messi's belief that it's time to move on.
And in a further twist to the story, the Sun says that City's board will use the signing of Messi to lure Pep Guardiola to the Etihad as their next gaffer given how well the pair worked together during Guardiola's time in charge at the Camp Nou. Initial talks between the City board and Messi's father (also his agent) have been "positive" and the Sky Blues are increasingly optimistic they will bring the South American sharpshooter to the north-west next year.
Manchester City transfer news: Juventus chase Jesus Navas
Juventus are circling Man City forward Jesus Navas and a January offer is pending. That's the claim from website Caughtoffside, which credits Spanish rag Estadio Deportivo for the information.
Navas's current contract with Man City runs through until 2017 but the 29-year-old is at the top of Juventus's shopping list after they finally gave up hope of signing Ezequiel Lavezzi from Paris Saint-Germain.
Navas, a Spanish international, cost City £14.9m when he signed from Sevilla in 2013. He has since made more than 100 appearances for the Citizens, but has spent much of his time at the Etihad coming off the bench.
Whether City manager Manuel Pellegrini would countenance a sale remains to be seen but it seems that the Italian champions are ready to break the bank to land Navas in the new year.
Man City transfer news: Pogba boost as Barcelona talk cools
Contrary to popular belief, Paul Pogba has not opened talks with Barcelona and that, says the Daily Express, will "boost" Manchester City's chances of signing the French midfielder next year.
Chelsea were also linked with the former Manchester United star but with their season imploding, it's considered unlikely Pogba would be willing to listen to their offer, leaving City to fight it out with the European champions for the player's signature.
The Spanish press had claimed in the summer that there was "an agreement in place" between Pogba and Barcelona, but when asked by a French broadcaster about such a deal, super-agent Mino Raiola retorted: "An agreement with FC Barcelona? Absolutely not. Those who want him should sit with Juventus and then we'll see."
Raiola added that there were "three or four" clubs interested in Pogba but that a deal would not be rushed into.
Man City transfer news: battle to lure Coutinho from Liverpool
With Jurgen Klopp installed at Liverpool's new manager, speculation continues to mount over the future of Philippe Coutinho. According to the Daily Mirror the South American midfielder is being monitored by Barcelona but now a new suitor has emerged on the scene - Manchester City.
The Mirror claims that the Citizens are going to make the Reds a mouth-watering offer in the new year, although Liverpool will do their utmost to keep the "Samba star". And the player's agent, Kia Joorabchian, had some reassuring words for the Kop when asked about Coutinho's future. "Philippe is extremely happy at Liverpool,” he replied. “He signed a long-term contract towards the end of last season that represents his ambition and his feeling for Liverpool. Reports that I have been talking to clubs about Philippe are not true."
Joorabchian added that his client is determined to help Liverpool qualify for next season's Champions League and is "focused on nothing else”.
Meanwhile the Daily Mail says that City are "watching" Vitesse Arnhem teenager Thomas Buitink. Only 15, the teenage striker is rated as one of the best hitmen in Holland and has already bagged more than 100 goals at youth level for Vitesse. Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are "expected to watch him in coming weeks" but the Mail says that City have stolen a march on their rivals and hope to tie him to the Etihad with a youth contract before long.
Man City transfer news: Chelsea battle over Andrade
Fresh from hitting Newcastle for six on Saturday, Manchester City are now said to be "leading the chase" for Benfica midfielder Victor Andrade. The Daily Mirror claims that the 20-year-old Brazilian playmaker is one of the most highly regarded prospects in Portugal and to that end Benfica have already slapped a £25m price tag on him.
Chelsea are also circling Andrade but apparently the Citizens are "the favourites to land" the South American sorcerer in January, perhaps because of a family connection - Andrade is the godson of Robinho, the Brazilian who failed to make much of a mark at City after a £33m move from Real Madrid in 2008.
Andrade is said to be interested in a move to the Premier League and City boss Manuel Pellegrini - who saw his side thrash Newcastle 6-1 at the weekend - believes he would complement the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne. The fact he has a Portuguese passport is an added boon for the Sky Blues as it means there will be no work permit issues.