Álvaro Negredo would fit nicely at Eastlands, provided Sevilla, Manchester City can strike a deal

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If you were wondering how Manchester City would replace the departed Carlos Tévez and potentially the ever more likely to stay Edin Dzeko, look no further than Andalusia, where new manager Manuel Pellegrini was coaching last year with Málaga. The Citizens have already raided one of the region’s biggest clubs, Sevilla, earlier this offseason while capturing Jesus Navas. Now England’s second place finishers may be ready to double dip, with striker Álvaro Negredo reportedly the latest subject of City’s affections.

The rumor was first reported late last week, but thanks to reports today out of Spain, we have a better idea of where the process stands. Although there’s yet to be an official bid for the 27-year-old striker, the clubs have been in touch, with Sevilla expecting a formal offer from Manchester City on Wednesday. Reports vary, but the club apparently want between $29 and $32 million for a player who notched 25 league goals last season.

As high-priced transfers go, it wouldn’t be a bad piece of business for Manchester City, who’ve seen both Tévez and Mario Balotelli move to Italy in the last seven months. That leaves their once vaunted striking corps with Dzeko and Sergio Aguero. With Pellegrini likely to play 4-4-2, City need a couple of more strikers, and that’s if they manage to retain Dzeko.

Beyond his goal scoring prowess, Negredo would be a good fit for Pellegrini’s squad. He can play a central figure when paired with Aguero, liberating the Argentine to play away from the line, while his versatility allows him to complement Dzeko, a player would be the more traditional number nine of their pairing.

His goal scoring prowess, however, shouldn’t be ignored. While Negredo is coming off his most productive year in Spain, he has been a consistent producer for the last six seasons, hitting double digits each year going back to his time with Almeria. Since moving to Sevilla in the summer of 2009, Negredo has 70 goals in 139 La Liga games, an average of 17.5 per season.

His would be a huge loss for Sevilla, but having finished ninth in Spain last year, the Rojiblancos are no longer the perennial Champions League contenders they once were. At some point they need to cash in their Negredo-level talents, and with the former Real Madrid prospect just over a month short of his 28th birthday, now is as good a time as any.

STREAM LIVE: The Manchester Derby

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The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Sergio Aguero starts for Man City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench.

On the other side, it’ll be a physical middle-third guarded by Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini. Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard start on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Bravo, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Fernando, Navas, Clichy, Gabriel Jesus, A. Garcia

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Mkhitaryan; Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Young, Lingard, Rooney.

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

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Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

Men in Blazers podcast: Chelsea tops Spurs, Top Four predictions

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Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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De Rossi admits desire to beat young teammates with bat

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Daniele De Rossi doesn’t like the modern world.

Okay, okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the Roma legend dropped a funny quote when discussing the differences between young players these days and those when he began his career.

A one-club man, the 33-year-old De Rossi has played in 556 matches for i Lupi and admits that he probably flummoxed veterans when he began his career because that’s the cyclical nature of adulthood.

From Italia Football:

“When we started out, it was all different, that was 20 years ago. Now a 20-year-old will get into the first team and have more Instagram followers than Messi. When I was young, the older players would say ‘it wasn’t like in my day’ – that’s life and it always will be.

“Mind you, some of them irritate me too. When I see them do live Instagram videos from inside the locker room before a game, I’d like to take a baseball bat to their teeth… But they’re 18 years old and in 20 years’ time they will find themselves complaining about the youth of today.”

Mmmm, tastes like ash and hickory.

It’s a safe bet that De Rossi isn’t wild about Stephan El Shaarawy’s hair, we imagine, but living legends generally get a little leeway with their comments in the media.

Plus, it sounds like he has the wisdom to understand the “why” and at least channel his angry into tackles.