Pep Guardiola could be one step closer to reuniting with one of his former pupils at Barcelona, and the Manchester City manager has Juventus to thank for that.
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The reigning Serie A champions confirmed on Wednesday that the club will release outside back Dani Alves, clearing the veteran defender’s path to join Man City this summer or another club.
“We’re not talking about a breakdown in the relationship, it’s motivation that is fundamental for players,” said Juventus chief executive Beppe Marotta.
“Alves has realised he has a desire to try a new experience, so we’re trying to reach a mutual termination of his contract and we wish him good luck.
“There’s certainly sadness because of what’s been said, but I can confirm there’s been no breakdown in our relationship.”
Alves signed a two-year contract with Juve last summer after previously playing for Barcelona since 2008, however, the winners of six consecutive Italian titles are willing to let the Brazilian walk away without acquiring a transfer fee.
Man City appears to be the preferred destination for Alves, who turned 34 in May.
PL champions Chelsea have also been linked to Alves’ services, but it’s more likely that the right back will reconnect with Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium.
The BBC is reporting that Pep Guardiola may be turning to the familiar to solve his right back problems.
The Manchester City boss is seeking a reunion with Dani Alves, the Juventus right back that Guardiola brought to Barcelona in 2008. Alves would go on to play with current Man City players Claudio Bravo and Yaya Toure.
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Alves, 34, went to the UEFA Champions League Final this season with Juve, also spent his fair share of time at right mid (He also played a match each at center back and right wing for The Old Lady). He registered six goals and seven assists in 33 appearances.
The report says Alves would cost $6.3 million, and that’s far less expensive than some of the other full back targets linked to Man City (Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy). Alves would be a fine stopgap for City given his price, though his addition wouldn’t end the club’s recruitment at his position.
Despite a dramatically up-and-down first season at Manchester City, John Stones has a very bright footballing future to look forward to — at more than just his natural position, center back, perhaps, according to England manager Gareth Southgate.
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Speaking in the build-up to Tuesday’s friendly against France in Paris, Southgate revealed that Stones spent a considerable amount of time training in a position other than central defense, and based on a certain set of qualities, he’ll be considering him for selection there in the future — quotes from the Guardian:
“We had a look at [Stones in defensive midfield] in training last week, in fact. I also think we want defenders who can bring the ball out and show composure. I think he could do either of those jobs. You’ve asked me if he’s an option there, and I think he is. He’s a player who’s very comfortable receiving possession, and has all the attributes and capabilities to play as a holding midfield player. He obviously hasn’t done that yet, really, so that’s a decision we have to make. But do I believe he can play that role? Absolutely.”
It’s surely an idea which has crossed the mind of Pep Guardiola, Stones’ boss at Manchester City, and someone who’s perhaps best-known for his previous sides’ ability and tendency to pass that ball out of the back.
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Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier, a rival of Stones for England minutes at either position, successfully made the transition from center back to holding midfielder and saw his career take off since moving to White Hart Lane in the summer of 2014, albeit having done so at the age of 20, where as Stones is 23 years old with over 100 Premier League appearances thus far in his career (Dier had made only a couple dozen appearances for Portuguese side Sporting CP before transferring back to England).
Manchester City has been busy early on this summer, and Pep Guardiola appears to have retrieved the goalkeeper he has wanted for the foreseeable future.
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The four-time Premier League champions announced on Thursday the club has signed Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson from Portuguese champions Benfica.
The transfer fee is reportedly valued at over $45 million after City acquired the 23-year-old on a six-year contract.
Ederson is expected to be Guardiola’s goalkeeper of choice heading into next season after 2016 signing Claudio Bravo underwhelmed in his first season at the Etihad Stadium.
Meanwhile, Guardiola is short on other goalkeeping options after City recently released Willy Caballero and the status of Joe Hart remains uncertain.
The Citizens have already gone out and signed Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva from Ligue 1 champions AS Monaco ahead of the 2017/18 season.
Never say never.
Yaya Toure looks like his season-long peace with Pep Guardiola will stretch into a new season, with Toure’s combustible agent admitting talks with Manchester City regarding a new contract.
Dimitri Seluk is
among the worst agents on Earth Toure’s agent, and said, “We are talking. We will see what happens but City is a club that is in Yaya’s heart.”
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But Seluk has not been in City’s heart, having made numerous poor decisions on when to open his mouth, deepening a rift between Toure and Guardiola that kept the player off the pitch for some time. Earlier this Spring, Seluk also suggested that Toure could join Manchester United.
So, yeah, smart guy. Hates microphones and publicity.
Toure turned 34 this month, and became a fixture for Guardiola once he broke into the lineup. The midfielder made nine-straight starts around the turn of the calendar, scoring five goals in the Premier League.