Pep Guardiola reported some good news on Friday as Gabriel Jesus is set to take part in first-team training as he makes his way back from injury.
Jesus picked up a knee ligament injury on New Year’s Eve against Crystal Palace and has missed Manchester City’s last 11 matches. But marksman Sergio Aguero has more than held down the fort, and now Guardiola has a selection headache as Jesus tries to get fit for the Carabao Cup final on February 25. Man City face Wigan in the FA Cup this Monday, though it’s not clear if Jesus will be fit in time for that.
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Without Jesus in the lineup, Aguero has been in sparkling form, scoring 14 goals in 11 matches in all competitions, including a pair of hat-tricks, one ending with four goals scored. While Jesus had a good scoring record early in the season, it would be hard to see Guardiola replacing Aguero after his goal-scoring exploits the last two months, which is good for a team in the running for four titles this season.
Now Jesus will have more time to recover and find his form in moments off the bench, and he won’t have the pressure to score, with Aguero and co. shouldering the load.
Jack Harrison was all set to sign for his hometown club Stoke City. Then Pep Guardiola got involved.
Excited about his future potential, Guardiola helped engineer Jack Harrison’s $6 million transfer to Manchester City and subsequent loan to Middlesborough right under Stoke City’s nose, according to a report from ESPN. Guardiola and Harrison’s former coach at New York City FC Patrick Vieira both believe the England Under-21 international can develop into a first-team player at the club down the line, but they are sending him to the Championship for additional seasoning.
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Harrison signed a 3.5-year contract at Manchester City, leaving open the option of another loan next season if he can’t break into the first team before he’s really given a chance to shine at the Etihad.
Having Pep Guardiola’s blessing is crucial for Harrison, an MLS and college soccer success story who is set to take his game to the next level in the coming months. Harrison certainly took the road less traveled, moving to a private school in Massachusetts before spending a season at Wake Forest and then becoming a professional at 19-years old.
Now 21, Harrison had become a solid MLS starter for a playoff team and was ready to take the next step in his career. Perhaps others will see his career path and consider MLS as a proving ground for young players.
Tuesday’s finalized transfers in the Premier League are plenty.
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Manchester City has signed another expensive defender, putting the finishing touches on the deal to bring French center back Aymeric Laporte to England from Athletic Bilbao. The 6-foot-3 defender provides a boost to a center back corp which has leaned heavily on Nicolas Otamendi this season.
City also announced the purchase of Jack Harrison from sister club New York City FC, and the instant loan to Tony Pulis‘ men at Middlesbrough.
“I can’t wait to get started over here,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed my time with New York City and I’d like to thank Patrick Vieira and his coaching staff for helping me to develop as a player. I feel I’ve really improved working under him and playing regularly in the MLS, but now I’m looking forward to testing myself in England. Middlesbrough are a good club, with Premier League experience and they’re in the mix for a return via the playoffs this season. Hopefully I can help them achieve that.”
Chelsea has added left-sided man — back and midfield — Emerson Palmeiri from Roma. The Brazilian is said to cost a little over $24 million and follows in the “Serie A to Chelsea” footsteps of Marcos Alonso and Davide Zappacosta. If he works out in the same fashion as those two, life will be okay for Antonio Conte. Chelsea will have Ruben Loftus-Cheek back in town, but don’t get excited at the loan return of the electric Crystal Palace performer: RLC’s World Cup may be in doubt as his injury is explored further.
— Arsenal could not get 18-year-old Marcus McGuane to sign a new deal, and now we know why: The English youth international is going to try his hand abroad with Barcelona, joining the Barca B team.
— Watford has signed another winger, this time young Dodi Lukebakio from Anderlecht.
— Sandro Ramirez is going on loan, but not to a Premier League club; Everton has sanctioned a Sevilla stay.
Manchester City are set to put a renewed effort to sign one of the Premier League’s star players.
The Guardian reports that Man City is confident it can sign Arsenal winger Alexis Sanchez this month at a valuation of around $41 million, a lower price than last summer as Sanchez will be a free agent this summer.
Pep Guardiola has stepped up his pursuit of the Chilean after the injury of Gabriel Jesus, who is set to miss around two months with an MCL injury. Arsenal had agreed an $81 million transfer deal with Man City on transfer deadline day pending the London club completing the nearly $125 million signing of Thomas Lemar from Monaco, but that deal fell through in the final moments.
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Sanchez, while still a key figure for the Gunners, has struggled to live up to his high expectations this season. It’s appeared his failed transfer move and Chile’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup has kept him from reaching his top level. Despite this, he has seven goals and three assists in the Premier League this season.
Considering Arsenal’s tailspin, crashing out of the FA Cup and struggling to break into the top four of the Premier League, perhaps now is the time for manager Arsene Wenger to move on from Sanchez and look to the future.
Here are some more transfer rumors from around the Premier League and Europe
David Silva can be forgiven for having his mind on more important issues recently.
The Manchester City maestro explained why he hadn’t been in the gameday roster for Premier League matches against Crystal Palace and Newcastle, stating on his official Twitter account that his son was born prematurely and is fighting for his life.
“I want to thank all of you for the love and good wishes received in the last few weeks,” Silva wrote. “Special thanks to my teammates the manager and all at the club for understanding my situation. Also, I want to share with you the birth of my son Mateo, who was born extremely preterm and is fighting day by day with the help of the medical team.”
Silva returned to the starting lineup on Tuesday as Man City topped Watford, 3-1. We wish the Silva family all the best in their fight to save their son’s life.