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Report: Man City begins talks with Arsenal over Alexis Sanchez

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According to a report by ESPN’s Pete O’Rourke, Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez could be a Manchester City player as soon as the end of the week as the clubs have opened formal discussions for the Chilean.

The Gunners are in a position of weakness regarding the status of Sanchez, given that he is out of contract in the summer and has refused to discuss a new deal. Despite knowledge that the 29-year-old would likely not sign a new deal, Arsenal decided to keep Sanchez in the face of numerous transfer offers this summer. Now, they will almost certainly be forced to accept a cut-rate deal in order to get anything for his services and avoid letting him walk this summer for free.

The ESPN report states Manchester City is hoping to secure a deal of around $41 million, while a report by John Cross of The Mirror released soon after quoted City’s expectations at $34 million.

Cross points out that City was previously ready to wait until the summer to make their move for Sanchez, but the serious injury suffered by Gabriel Jesus plus knocks to Kevin De Bruyne have given them reason to go after the Chilean now.

While Arsenal has come to the table willing to talk, they are not yet convinced by that low of a price, given the recent deals for superstars of Sanchez’s value, namely Philippe Coutinho who was sold by Liverpool to Barcelona for $192 million. While it’s out of the question for Arsenal to expect anything remotely close to that return for Sanchez given the club’s position of weakness, the Gunners reportedly believe City’s initial valuation of the player is still well below their asking price.

Manchester City, already on track for the most dominant title run in years – and maybe ever – would only be bolstered by the addition of a player who played 41 matches for Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and whom the City boss already attempted to acquire last summer. Their attacking prowess this season has proven unprecedented, with Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, and the rest of the City strike force playing with a cohesiveness and cutting edge that has been held goalless just once all season in any competition.

The addition of Sanchez would only make that team even more fearsome, although it would be a bigger burden on the manager to fit all the key players together and get them all the playing time they deserve.

Meanwhile, for Arsenal, while they would obviously love to avoid letting Sanchez walk for free, the Gunners are still very much alive in the battle for the final Champions League place, currently two points back of Tottenham in fifth place and five points behind Liverpool in fourth. The loss of Sanchez would be a massive blow to their hopes of a second-half surge, and it could be the difference between a return to the Champions League and a second straight season outside Europe’s top competition.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.