LATEST – MAN CITY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LIONEL MESSI CONTRACT IMBROGLIO AT THE CAMP NOU (NEWS, GOSSIPS, GISTS, RUMOURS, TRANSFER SPECULATIONS & UPDATES)

Man City believe that they can take advantage of Barcelona’s reluctance to meet Lionel Messi’s wage demands this summer. Pep Guardiola is to be given £200 million to spend in the next transfer window, plus whatever he makes from sales, with a raid on his former employers at Camp Nou figuring prominently in his thoughts.

 

Ivory Coast have named former Belgium international Marc Wilmots, 48, as their new head coach to replace Michel Dussuyer. Wilmots was coach of Belgium between 2012 and 2016 and led them to the World Cup in Brazil. He was sacked in July 2016 after Belgium lost 3-1 to Wales in the quarter-finals of the European Championships. Meanwhile, Frenchman Dussuyer quit the Elephants after they exited the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations at the group stage. Wilmots, who has signed a two-year contract with an option to renew, will get the chance to see his new charges in action almost immediately as Ivory Coast play two friendlies against Russia and Senegal. Also, the Belgian has been set the task of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the AFCON a year later.

 

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, 24, dismissed talk of a potential move to Real Madrid, explaining: “I see myself as a key player at Stamford Bridge.

 

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin, 22, says reports of interest from Barcelona are “flattering“, but his loyalty lies with the Gunners.

 

Man United striker Wayne Rooney, 31, is likely to return to his boyhood club Everton this summer.

 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger dismissed reports of a contract offer from PSG as “fake news“.

 

Man City will play Man United in a pre-season friendly in the United States on 20 July. A venue is still to be decided for the game which will form part of the annual International Champions Cup. It will be the first Manchester derby to be played outside the UK. City should have played United in the Chinese capital Beijing last July but the match at the Bird’s Nest was cancelled due to heavy rain. City will then face another Premier League rival, Tottenham, in Nashville on 29 July before playing Spanish giants Real Madrid in Los Angeles on 26 July. Spurs also play French champions PSG, winners of the tournament for the past two years, in Orlando on 22 July and Italian side Roma in New Jersey on 25 July. The event also features only the second El-Clasico to be played outside Spain when Real Madrid meet Barcelona in Miami on 29 July – the teams met in Venezuela in 1982.

 

Turkish club Fenerbahce are interested in signing Arsenal’s 28-year-old attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil. The Turkish outfit see the Germany international, who has strong family ties to the country, as the ideal replacement for Robin van Persie.

 

West Ham are hopeful of signing Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe, 34, on a free transfer this summer.

 

Man United are considering a summer move for Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld. The Belgian currently has a £25 million release clause in his contract, although Spurs are locked in talks regarding fresh terms at White Hart Lane.

 

Man City have joined Real Madrid in the battle to land Espanyol defender Aaron Martin. The 19-year-old full-back is considered to be hot property ahead of the summer window, with several clubs mulling over a bid to activate his £26 million release clause.

 

Arsenal and Liverpool have tabled offers for Schalke’s in-demand defender Sead Kolasinac. The highly-rated left-back will be out of contract in the summer, with AC Milan, Juventus and Roma also keen on acquiring his services.

 

Chelsea have made a £32m offer for Monaco’s 22-year-old midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is also a target for Man United. However, Bakayoko favours a move to Chelsea this summer as Antonio Conte sees the Ligue 1 star as a good long-term option for his squad at Stamford Bridge.

 

Barcelona have an option to buy back 23-year-old Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu, currently on loan at AC Milan, for £10m.

 

Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel says he is not interested in taking over at Arsenal.

 

The injury suffered by Man United defender Phil Jones in England training could rule the 25-year-old out of at least nine games in April.

 

Former Middlesbrough midfielder Paul Ince is a contender to become the club’s new manager.

 

Real Madrid are interested in signing Chelsea’s 26-year-old left-back Marcos Alonso, but the Blues are not willing to sell.

 

A Charlton fan allegedly tried to punch the eagle that Crystal Palace release to fly around their Selhurst Park stadium before matches.

 

Atletico Madrid are confident that their transfer ban will be lifted in May, and have agreed a deal in principle to sign Lyon’s 25-year-old forward Alexandre Lacazette.

 

Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks, 21, is on the verge of breaking into Gareth Southgate’s England team.

 

West Brom winger James McClean, 27, will pay his respects to Derry City captain Ryan McBride, who was found dead at his home on Sunday, by wearing the number five jersey for the Republic of Ireland against Wales on Friday.

 

Sunderland hope to have striker Victor Anichebe, 28, and midfielder Lee Cattermole, 29, fit for their match with Watford after the international break.

 

Goalkeeper Jack Butland, 24, said, “my only focus is playing for Stoke” when asked about reports linking him with a move to Arsenal.

 

Former Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, 32, and ex-Villa striker Luke Moore, 31, are training with Norwegian club Lillestrom.

 

Former England manager Roy Hodgson says he turned down an offer to take part in Strictly Come Dancing.

 

United will also play Real Madrid in Santa Clara on 23 July before they meet Barcelona in Washington DC on 26 July. Meanwhile, International Champions Cup games in Singapore this summer will see Premier League leaders Chelsea play German champions Bayern Munich on 25 July and Serie A side Inter Milan on 29 July. London matches at Wembley are also to be announced in the coming days.

 

Ahead of Germany v England friendly, coach Gareth Southgate says their “island” mentality must end. Southgate said so as he prepared for his first game as permanent England manager by insisting foundations are now in place to narrow the gap on their opponents Germany – but warned the country’s “island” mentality must end.

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he was surprised Wales boss Chris Coleman did not contact him before calling up teenager Ben Woodburn. The 17-year-old was named in the senior squad for the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.

But his club boss has been left perplexed he was not consulted and believes the call-up has come too early.

Actually, I was surprised about this,” said Klopp.

 

Nottingham-born Woodburn, who qualifies to play for Wales through his maternal grandfather, has played for Wales at under-16, under-18 and under-19 level.

 

Atletico Madrid are hoping to convince Antoine Griezmann to stay by making a grand gesture of signing Alexandre Lacazette to play with him instead of replacing the Frenchman. Though the capital club have been banned from signing players this summer by FIFA, they hope to have it overturned and will go for the 25-year-old Lyon sensation. Griezmann has been linked to Man United while Lacazette has also been touted as a Premier League target, but the Rojiblancos could make a big statement if they have both strikers in their ranks next season.

 

Man United are interested in signing Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer. The England international looks likely to leave north London at the end of this season, and United are monitoring his situation as Jose Mourinho looks to add to his squad.

 

Manager Diego Simeone is free to leave Atletico Madrid this summer. Reports had suggested the Argentine had a €50 million release clause in his contract, but it has now been confirmed that is not the case were Inter or Arsenal to make their move.

 

Barcelona are ready to move for Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho in the summer transfer window. The Catalans’ midfield is far from settled, and with Andres Iniesta possibly leaving at the end of 2018, Coutinho and PSG star Marco Verratti are Barca’s top candidates to replace the legend.

 

 

 

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