Manchester City hero backs Rooney over a proposed move to China
Manchester City hero Sun Jihai has backed Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney over a proposed move to China. The England international striker has been heavily linked with a big-money move to the Chinese Super League before the transfer window shuts next week. “The support from the league and from the club itself will be a lot less. The CSL is a young league," he told the Daily Star. "At Manchester City I never had to carry my own boots! All of the players in the CSL will have to look after their own boots at matches and training. It's a very tiny little thing, but highlights some key differences."
Bonucci links with moves to Man City and Chelsea
Leonardo Bonucci has been linked with moves with Manchester City and Chelsea in the morning papers after being dropped for Juventus's 2-0 first-leg Champions League victory in their Round of 16 tie against Porto. Bonucci had an argument with Massimiliano Allegri towards the end of the Old Lady's 4-1 Serie A win over Palermo on Friday evening. However, all seems well between the pair now. "It's a shame that we had the incident on Friday," he said. "These are things that happen during the season, I'll go as far as thanking him for raising the emotional tension. "But Leo has apologized and everything has been resolved."
Aguero intends to stay at Man City
Sergio Aguero has reiterated his desire to stay at Manchester City. Aguero briefly lost his place to Gabriel Jesus, raising questions over how he fitted into Pep Guardiola's plans and whether he had a long-term future at the club. But Aguero, who is under contract until 2020, played down speculation that his recent spell on the bench could lead to him leaving the Etihad Stadium. "I've always said I want to be here at the club, I've always said that at the end of the season it won't be my decision," said Aguero. "The truth is that with these things it's the club that handles everything, and obviously it's always my intention to stay."
Hart free to join Premier League clubs
Joe Hart will be free to join one of the Premier League's top-six clubs next season, according to the Daily Telegraph. Having moved so soon into his tenure at Manchester City to replace Hart with Claudio Bravo, head coach Pep Guardiola is reportedly prepared to let him go for a fee in excess of £20m. Arsenal and Liverpool have been linked with the England international, who has spent this season on loan at Torino. Hart has made 25 appearances during this season.
Inter defender on several clubs radar
Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Real Madrid are tracking Inter Milan defender Jeison Murillo, according to calciomercato.com. City reportedly made an official offer for the Colombia international in January, which was met with negativity from Inter. It is understood Inter would like to extend Murillo’s current deal at the San Siro beyond its expiry in 2020. Note that Murillo has made 27 appearances during this season.
Tevez exit talks denied by his agent
Carlos Tevez’s representative has denied reports which claim that the Argentine forward wants to leave Shanghai Shenhua. The former Manchester United and Manchester City forward reportedly became the world’s highest-paid player when he left Boca Juniors to join Shanghai Shenhua in December. However, reports have suggested that adaptation problems and doubts over the future of the team coach Gus Poyet have prompted Tevez to look for a way out of China. These suggestions have been dismissed by his agent Adrian Ruocco, who told TN: “Tevez will not return from China, I do not know where that has come from.”
Isco thinks about leaving Real Madrid
Isco is willing to leave Real Madrid this summer, reports Marca. The Spain international is happy at the Bernabeu but he has not established himself as a key first-team player during three-and-a-half-year spell in the Spanish capital. As such, his representatives have informed the Spaniard's suitors that he would be willing to accept a good offer to leave the European champions this summer. Isco is out of contract in 2018 and Real Madrid have yet to reach an agreement with the playmaker over a new deal. The club are aware that they will have to sell him this summer if they cannot agree a new deal as they face the prospect of losing him on a free transfer next year. Manchester City, who are long-term admirers of Isco, have shown a lot of interest in him of late, while Chelsea, who are also interested, have met with an intermediary. Juventus are keen too, but the player would prefer to move to the Premier League.
Premier League Top 4: The Contenders
With 13 games left to play, Chelsea’s lead is far from unassailable, and the title race is still very much open. According to Conte, as many as ‘six teams’ can ‘fight to win the title’. As the season draws ever closer to a thrilling finale, however, attentions will turn toward to the all-important and lucrative Champions League places; the top 4. Chelsea’s place in the top 4 is all but assured, so let’s take a look at the other contenders: Manchester City Guardiola’s City team look to be rallying at the right time. They’ve hit a fine patch of form in recent weeks, winning their last 3 premier league matches, and look like a sensible bet to secure a top 4 position. City face a tough run of games at the end of March and start of April, however. They will face Liverpool at home on March 19th, followed by away trips to Arsenal and Chelsea in the space of 4 days. With all 3 sides in the mix for a top 4 place, these games could prove key. Tottenham Hotspur Having conceded only 18 goals this season, Tottenham have the joint best defence in the league. The recently injured Jan Vertonghen has been a key element in Tottenham’s defensive prowess, and will be a huge miss for Pochettino’s side. Spurs have stumbled slightly since his injury, having previously recorded 7 straight victories before he was carted off against West Brom in January. Spurs have a habit of falling at the final hurdle but, with the experience of last season’s title race, young players like Dele Alli are sure to cope better mentally this season. I’ve no doubt that Spurs will still be in the title race going into the season’s final games, and certainly won’t let a Champions League place slip away. Spurs only have 2 games to play against the rest of the top 6, both at White Hart Lane, and this could prove decisive. Arsenal Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger faces increasing pressure following some poor results in last few weeks. Recent Premier League losses against Watford and Chelsea may have damaged their title hopes irreparably, and this week’s Champions League battering against Bayern has further compounded Arsenal’s woes. Much has been said about a lack of on the pitch leadership at Arsenal, and with fresh speculation over Wenger’s future at the club, it looks like the side could falter in the closing stages of the season. Arsenal will face a tough run-in in the coming months. Upcoming visits to Anfield and White Hart Lane will provide tough obstacles, as will hosting Man Utd and Man City at home. With the side showing a startling lack of resilience, it’s hard to imagine them sustaining a significant title challenge. A top 4 finish may be the best they can hope for, but they’ll have to fight for it. Liverpool Prior to Liverpool’s 2-0 win against Tottenham on Saturday, they were yet to record a win in the Premier League in 2017. Despite a run of a prior run of 5 games without a win, including losses against Swansea and Hull, Liverpool are still very much in contention for a Champions League spot. Manager Jurgen Klopp was in an optimistic mood following victory against Spurs, and believes Liverpool have turned a corner following a dreadful start to 2017. He claimed Liverpool were ‘back in this race’, and he could be right. Liverpool are joint highest scorers in the league this season and, despite struggling to break defence-minded sides down in recent weeks, have plenty of firepower. They’ll be looking to striker and top scorer, Sadio Mane, to provide the vital spark to keep them in the race for the title and top 4 places. Liverpool only face 2 games against the other contenders, against Arsenal and Man City, but must also play an ever-tricky Merseyside derby in the coming weeks. Man Utd Currently sitting at 6th place in the table, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea, it looks like Man Utd’s title hopes are already over. With Mourinho’s side only 2 points behind Spurs and Arsenal, 3rd and 4th respectively, they are still very much in with a shout of a top 4 finish. United have relied heavily on goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic this season, and this could prove their downfall. The eccentric striker has contributed directly to over 50% of United’s goals this season and will need him to be on top form if they are to finish in the top 4. Man Utd will face back-to-back away trips to Arsenal and Tottenham in the final 3 games of the season, and this could prove fatal to their top 4 chances.
Manchester City ready to bid for Messi
Manchester City are preparing a £100 million offer to lure Barcelona star Lionel Messi to the Etihad in the coming summer, according to the Daily Mirror. They claim City will aim to take advantage of Messi's contract situation at Barca, where he has less than 18 months remaining on his current deal. The Premier League side will reportedly offer the Argentine £500,000-a-week to bring him to England. This will see him earning €31 m annually, 11 millions more than he earns at Barcelona currently. Pep Guardiola will try to convince the Argentine star himself, as the pair has a good relationship since the time of working together in Barcelona.
Guardiola claims Barca return impossible
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is sure he will never return to Barcelona as a head coach, El Mundo Deportivo reports. "I will never return to Barcelona as a manager. That period of my life is over," the Spanish specialist said. Earlier Barcelona lost to PSG (4-0) in Champions League round of 16 first-leg and rumors claim Barca players are dissatisfied with their current coach Luis Enrique. Josep Guardiola had been coaching Barcelona between 2008 and 2012. The Catalan club won 14 titles, including three Spanish La Ligas, two Copa del Reys and two Champions League cups.