Mid-week, Lionel Messi’s injury looked bad, and more than a few LCD inches were devoted to considering the worst case scenario. You couldn’t help but think the worst after his collision with Benfica goalkeeper Artur. Messi said he didn’t think he’d be playing again for a very long time, given how his left knee felt on Wednesday.
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova included Messi in his squad for the Spanish league match at Betis on Sunday, saying the forward will play barring a setback.
“(Messi) feels fine, he isn’t bothered (by the knee),” Vilanova said Saturday. “If he is traveling it’s because he’s in condition to play. It there existed even the smallest risk he wouldn’t travel with the team.”
So the chase for the record will continue. Messi sits on 84 goals for the calendar year, one behind the total amassed by German great Gerd Müller in 1972.
It would take a huge slump to miss the record. Before the calendar turns, Messi has five possible matches, three in league and two Copa del Rey meetings with Cordoba.
And the record could very well fall tomorrow. In his last four meetings with Real Betis, Messi has scored six times.
Manchester City transfer news, live! Latest reports, rumors, updates
Below we roundup the latest done deals, reports and rumors and give our analysis on Manchester City transfer news as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) will guide you through a hectic next few months.
Manchester City transfer news, rumors today, live!
June 2 – Gvardiol wanted by City as
According to a report from The Times, Josko Gvardiol is at the top of Pep Guardiola’s wish-list this summer. The Croatian defender, 21, is thought to be valued at $108 million by RB Leipzig and although the German giants don’t want to sell, it is believed Gvardiol is keen on a move to City. The report says that City plan on moving on at least one of their center backs and all of John Stones, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake seem certain to stay with Aymeric Laporte perhaps the most likely to move on. Gvardiol has long been linked with a Premier League move and his power in the air as well as his pace and ability on the ball is a perfect fit for the Premier League and City. Josko Gvardiol also got a good look at City this season as Leipzig were hammered by Erling Haaland and Co. in the UEFA Champions League. We’ve seen this season how Guardiola’s side dominated the final months of the season not only due to their incredible goalscoring exploits but largely thanks to a solid defensive unit. Having mobile center backs who can slot in at full back and step into midfield is key to the way they play. Gvardiol can do that. (JPW)
May 3 – Bellingham in ‘advanced talks’ with Real Madrid
Man City, as shown below, was recently said to be leading the race to sign Jude Bellingham and that lead got a boost when Liverpool reportedly pulled out of the billing.
It also reports that Bellingham could be in advance talks with other clubs as well, so there’s a grain of salt in this one, but we’re going to share the buzz any time a possible $100M+ player could be on the verge of a move.
April 23 – Man City leading race to sign Jude Bellingham
According to a report from ESPN, Manchester City are now leading the race to sign Jude Bellingham. After multiple reports said Liverpool are out of the running to sign Bellingham, 19, it appears that it is now a two horse race between Man City and Real Madrid for the England international. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is likely to cost over $160 million and the report states that City want to replace both Ilkay Gundogan (who is out of contract) and Bernardo Silva, with the latter long linked with a move away. Bellingham looks destined to be a star in the Premier League and his driving runs and ability on the ball would surely suit City perfectly. Given the transfer fee reportedly wanted by Dortmund, only a handful of clubs can afford Bellingham and a move to City seems like the perfect fit for all concerned. He could remain at Dortmund for one more season but after reported talks between Real Madrid and his representatives, it will be intriguing to see how hard City chase Bellingham as they try and wrap up a deal before preseason starts. (JPW)
March 23 – Man City to rejoin chase for Florian Wirtz
Bayer Leverkusen phenom Florian Wirtz is wanted by any of number of teams now that he’s healed from a serious knee injury.
Man City’s in the fight for Wirtz’s services, according to 90min, where it will jostle with Barcelona, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle, Bayern Munich, and Borussia Dortmund amongst others.
Wirtz, 19, has a contract with Leverkusen through the 2026-27 season and his fee will be astronomical should he continue to show his injury hasn’t changed much about him.
The teenager returned to Leverkusen’s lineup in late January and has four assists in Bundesliga play but was a thorn in the side of Monaco and Ferencvaros in the Europa League. He scored twice with two assists in four legs between the two opponents.
Wirtz was electric as a 17-year-old regular in 2020-21, but really found his footing last season. Wirtz posted 10 goals and 14 assists in 31 games across all competitions in 2021-22 but suffered an ACL injury in late March.(NM)
March 20 – Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes eyed by Guardiola
It takes very little time watching Newcastle United to see that Bruno Guimaraes is the straw that stirs the midfield drink for Eddie Howe.
And it isn’t often that Pep Guardiola is linked with a big-money buy these days that doesn’t at least have a strong helping of truth in it.
Bruno running Man City’s midfield just kinda makes sense, as much as it might drive Newcastle insane to consider Guimaraes lining up with Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Phil Foden and Company.
City has already signed a midfielder of the future in Maximo Perrone, and the club has been slowly bringing along Cole Palmer, but Guimaraes is — as some would say — different gravy.
A report says Guimaraes would be a target and Guardiola could overhaul City by selling Aymeric Laporte and Bernardo Silva in addition to letting Ilkay Gundogan walk. Silva and Gundogan have been linked with Barcelona, while Lavia’s future — as detailed below — is still in City’s hands.
Is there smoke here? It certainly sounds logical enough, especially if Newcastle doesn’t land a place in the Champions League. But Newcastle’s rise has been special for the players in the fold, and Guimaraes may love the idea of continuing down the road of becoming a club legend. (NM)
March 11 – Southampton’s Lavia in demand but City holds buyback key
Romeo Lavia has impressed in a massive way since leaving Manchester City for Southampton last summer, reportedly sending tongues wagging at Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester United.
That said, this all probably hinges on whether Southampton stays up, because Lavia is still growing as a player and the PL minutes at St. Mary’s have done him well.
City’s not stopping restocking whether from within or without, as Maximo Perrone fits a similar profile to Lavia and was brought into the fold this January. Lavia’s proven an aggressive tackler and defender but City would likely be buying back a player to block him from other suitors. (NM)
March 1 – Pep Guardiola eyes cut-rate deal for Mateo Kovacic
Chelsea wrecking ball Mateo Kovacic will enter the final 12 months of his contract this summer, and multiple reports say City wants to bring the Croatian midfielder aboard.
If Kovacic, 28, is unwilling to sign a new deal or is just antsy to leave a project that seems destined to miss out on the UEFA Champions League, Pep Guardiola would certainly see a usable piece.
The former Dinamo Zagreb, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid player has 91 caps for Croatia and is an elite ball mover in the midfield. His expected assists and shot-creating actions are also impressive, and you can imagine his actual assists would be higher on a normal year of finishing for Chelsea.
This makes sense for Man City, but what about Chelsea? Normally you wouldn’t see the Blues selling anyone to a rival, especially one set for centurion status at Croatia and still in his prime, but given the money Chelsea’s spent under new boss Todd Boehly… maybe this helps balance the books a bit.
But selling Jorginho and Kovacic in the same six-month span? Wild. (NM)
February 19 – Man City looks to USMNT’s Antonee Robinson
Could Fulham’s Antonee Robinson be on the move to a European club even if Fulham do not quality for the Europa League?
Robinson, 25, nearly moved to AC Milan in the January window two seasons ago but a since-resolved heart issue scuppered the move at the 23rd hour.
Would he leap at the chance to go to Europe despite a great relationship with club captain and fellow USMNT back Tim Ream? Robinson is about to hit his prime if he isn’t in it already, and the Everton alum might have eyes for the opportunity (NM).
Manchester City confirmed transfers & signings – January 2023 window
Maximo Perrone – Velez Sarsfield ($10 million)
Joao Cancelo – Bayern Munich (loan with $76 million buy option)
Manchester City archived transfer news, January 2023
January 31 – Joao Cancelo seals Munich move
What a wild move, as Pep Guardiola sanctions the loan of Joao Cancelo to Bayern Munich with the option to buy in the summer.
Pep will be riding with Rico Lewis, Nathan Ake, Sergio Gomez, and Kyle Walker at fullback for the remainder of the season unless he makes an addition today.
🗣️ "Bayern are a great club, one of the best in the world, and it’s enormous motivation for me to now play alongside these extraordinary players. I know that this club lives for titles and wins titles every year. I’m also driven by the hunger for success."#MiaSanMia#ServusJoãopic.twitter.com/Dsw2P1aNO2
January 30 – Joao Cancelo to join Bayern Munich on loan-to-buy
Joao Cancelo has only fallen out of favor with Pep Guardiola in recent weeks, but the Portuguese left back is set to depart Manchester City for Bayern Munich. Cancelo’s move to the 10-time Bundesliga champions will be a loan initially, with a $76-million option to buy in the summer. (AE)
January 23 – Man City seals Maximo Perrone deal
Man City transfer rumors have had a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” feel over the past few windows, so it’s no surprise to see Maximo Perrone quickly going from reported target to Man City player.
We reported last week that his reported release clause would be triggered by Man City but there was some question whether Velez Sarsfield would find a way to stand in the way of his move.
The 20-year-old has signed a five-and-a-half year deal with City.
Perrone is a fine reader of the game who is also not afraid of a tackle. An excellent dribbler and play driver, Perrone should learn plenty from both Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne (amongst others). (NM)
We’re delighted to have completed the signing of Máximo Perrone from Vélez Sarsfield. The midfielder will join us after the U-20 South American Championship.
Velez boss Sergio Rapisarda is less than pleased with City, however. What will he do if Perrone’s reported meager $9 million release clause is triggered by City?
The youngster’s played almost 2,500 minutes this season and is coached at the U-20 level by longtime Pep pal Javier Mascherano. If two of Barcelona’s best see you as a good prospect, well, connect those dots without much reservation.
“The boy, he wants to go,” Rapisarda said. “The City coach called him three times. Mascherano also persuaded him, which I don’t like. The boy loves the coach of that club. We are going to take the risk. We are trying to be the best in the transfer and with numbers that favour Velez.
Perrone, who just celebrated his birthday earlier this month, has also been linked with Newcastle United amongst several other sides, but the center midfielder and Argentina U-20 debutant fits well with Guardiola. (NM)
Raheem Sterling – Chelsea ($56.3 million)
Gabriel Jesus – Arsenal ($54.7 million)
Oleksandr Zinchenko – Arsenal ($35.9 million)
Gavin Bazunu – Southampton ($14.75 million)
Romeo Lavia – Southampton ($14.4 million, plus $3.6 million possible add-ons)
Fernandinho (end of contract)
Taylor Harwood-Bellis – Burnley (loan)
CJ Egan-Riley – Burnley (free agent)
Manchester City archived transfer news, Summer 2022
August 30 – Man City in talks to sign Dortmund center back Manuel Akanji
Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones is a pretty good one-two-three at center back, but all three players, alongside Kyle Walker who frequently moonlights at the position, have a lengthy history of short- to medium-term injuries that often leave Pep Guardiola with only one (or zero) options in central defense. As such, it appears Guardiola has requested additional cover, with new reports claiming Man City are working towards bringing Borussia Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji to Etihad Stadium. The 27-year-old is in the final year of his contract, which means he’ll come at a bargain price ($15-20 million). A player with ample UEFA Champions League experience and a few prime years remaining in his career, Akanji seems like the perfect fit for Man City’s very specific need. (AE)
Aug. 16 – City gets its (young) man
The left back below is going to City, as Man City announced the capture of Anderlecht’s Sergio Gomez on a four-year deal.
As expected, the Vincent Kompany connection was huge to the deal.
“It was a pride working with him from the first day. I used to watch Manchester City when I was younger and he was the captain of the team. He was a role model for everybody. To me, it was an honour working with him and I’m very grateful to him for everything that happened last season at Anderlecht.
“I spoke to him a few days ago. I told him about an option to move to Manchester City and he told me he was very happy for me. He said he was proud of me for this big step in my career.”
Gomez, 21, will be with the first team, though it will likely take some time for Pep Guardiola to bed in the Spaniard. (NM)
July 22 – Oleksandr Zinchenko unveiled as newest Arsenal player
Following weeks of reports and speculation, and even confirmation from his former manager, Oleksandr Zinchenko is officially an Arsenal player. The Gunners announced the 25-year-old left back/midfielder’s arrival on Friday, with the Ukrainian international calling it “a boyhood dream come true.” (AE)
July 13 – Raheem Sterling signs for Chelsea
The England international has signed for Chelsea after a stellar seven seasons at Manchester City. Sterling will be the main man in attack for Thomas Tuchel and will give him them the clever runs and pace they need in attack. This is a massive upgrade for Chelsea and proves the ambition of their new owners, as Sterilng will excel in the 3-4-2-1 formation in one of the underneath roles, or even up top as the central striker. Sterling’s goodbye message to City was classy and the England star will always be remembered fondly by the City faithful. (JPW)
July 4 – Kalvin Phillips completes Man City move
England international midfielder Kalvin Phillips has switched his boyhood club Leeds for Manchester City, as the move costs an initial $54.7 million. Phillips is the long-term replacement for Fernandinho and will add steel, creativity and class to City’s engine room. This seems like a very good fit for Pep Guardiola and the transfer fee is pretty decent too. Perhaps that was impacted by Phillips having a rough 2021-22 season as he spent most of it out injured. Regardless of those struggles, the Yorkshire Pirlo has an incredible range of passing and he should slot in very nicely alongside Rodri to give City’s stable of wonderful attacking players plenty of license to roam free. Phillips, 26, is joining City in his prime and Guardiola will no doubt take his game to the next level. This is a very good deal for City and Phillips. (JPW)
July 1 – Man City add goalkeeper ahead of Steffen loan
USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen was expected to leave Manchester City on loan this season should the Citizens find a home for him.
The out-of-contract 29-year-old starred for Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga but saw the club relegated as he finished out his contract. (NM)
July 1 – Vincent Kompany’s Burnley signs two Man City backs
It comes as little to surprise to hear that new Burnley manager Vincent Kompany would look to Man City in a bid to boost the Clarets back to the Premier League.
City will send highly-rated center back Taylor Harwood-Bellis, 20, on a season-long loan to Turf Moor, while CJ Egan-Riley moves to the Clarets on a permanent deal.
England U-21 back Harwood-Bellis started double-digit games for Kompany’s Anderlecht last season and then went to Stoke City, where ran up almost 2,000 minutes in the Championship over a half-season. He’s played eight times for City, scoring a goal against Port Vale in the FA Cup.
Egan-Riley, 19, is also an England youth international and made three senior appearances for Man City last season.
June 24 – Arsenal, Man City agree transfer fee for Gabriel Jesus
Following the departures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in January and the summer, respectively, Arsenal appear to have filled their massive hole at striker with a 25-year-old (four-time) Premier League champion: Gabriel Jesus. Fabricio Romano reported on Friday that Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed a $55.3 million transfer fee for the Brazilian international. All that remains to be agreed are personal terms for a contract between Jesus and Arsenal. (AE)
June 23 – Goalkeeper moves involving Steffen, Stefan
German goalkeeper Stefan Ortega could become Manchester City’s No. 2 goalkeeper if Zack Steffen finds a transfer destination to his liking, according to Sky Sports.
Ortega, 29, has spent much of his career with Arminia Bielefeld, which was relegated to 2.Bundesliga this season.
Steffen, meanwhile, may want to pursue a No. 1 shirt this summer as Ederson is not likely to lose his at Man City any time soon and the USMNT backstop is locked in a battle with Matt Turner to start at the 2022 World Cup.
The 27-year-old American cost City around $7-8 million in 2019 when he made his second trip abroad. He was previously on the books at Freiburg and Columbus Crew, and starred on loan to Fortuna Dusseldorf from City in the 2019-20 season (though Fortuna was relegated).
The journey continues, as Erling Haaland posts a photo of himself wearing a Man City shirt as a kid ahead of his move to City which will be completed on July 1. Previously City had agreed a fee with Borussia Dortmund for his signature and it is believed that personal terms with Haaland would not be a problem to negotiate. It appears that is all sorted now. Erling’s father, Alf-Inge, played for Man City and Haaland will follow in his dad’s footsteps in playing for the Premier League. However, this Haaland will spearhead City’s attack rather than mop up in midfield. (JPW)
For the next few months CONCACAF Nations League takes center stage, while the program is very much in transition as Anthony Hudson was in temporary charge but he has now moved on with B.J. Callaghan taking over an interim basis as the search for a new permanent head coach continues.
After both the general manager (Brian McBride) and sporting director (Earnie Stewart) left in recent months, Matt Crocker has arrived as U.S. Soccer’s new sporting director and has some huge decisions coming up as the USMNT’s talented youngsters need some guidance with a World Cup on home soil just three years away.
vs Mexico ** — June 15, 10pm ET — Las Vegas, Nevada (Nations League semifinal)
2023 Gold Cup from June 16 to July 19
vs Jamaica**** — June 24, 9:30pm ET — Chicago, Illinois
vs TBD**** — June 28, 9:30pm ET — St. Louis, Missouri
vs Nicaragua**** — July 2, 7pm ET — Charlotte, North Carolina
vs Germany* — October 14, 3pm ET — Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT
vs Ghana* — October 17, 8:30pm ET — GEODIS Park, Nashville, TN
USMNT games in 2022
vs. Morocco* — June 1 — Win 3-0
vs. Uruguay* — June 5 — Draw 0-0
vs. Grenada** — June 10 — Win 5-0
at El Salvador** — June 14 — Draw 1-1
vs Japan* — Sept. 23 (in Dusseldorf, Germany) — Loss 2-0
vs Saudi Arabia* — Sept. 27 (in Murcia, Spain) — Draw 0-0
USMNT at 2022 World Cup
vs. Wales*** — Nov. 21, 2 pm ET — Draw 1-1
vs. England*** — Nov. 25, 2 pm ET — Draw 0-0
vs. Iran*** — Nov. 29, 2 pm ET — Win 1-0
vs. Netherlands*** — Dec. 3, 10 am ET — Loss 3-1
USMNT 2022 World Cup qualifying scores, recaps, analysis
at El Salvador — Sept. 2 — Draw 0-0
vs. Canada — Sept. 5 — Draw 1-1
at Honduras — Sept. 8 — Win 4-1
vs. Jamaica — Oct. 7 — Win 1-0
at Panama — Oct. 10 — Loss 0-1
vs. Costa Rica — Oct. 13 — Win 2-1
vs. Mexico — Nov. 12 — Win 2-0
at Jamaica — Nov. 16 — Draw 1-1
vs. El Salvador — Jan. 27 — Win 1-0
at Canada — Jan. 30 — Loss 0-2
vs. Honduras — Feb. 2 — Win 3-0
at Mexico — March 24 — Draw 0-0
vs. Panama — March 27 — Win 5-1
at Costa Rica — March 30 — Loss 0-2
Vlatko Andonovski’s side are going for a third-straight World Cup title, something which has never been achieved in the history of the men’s and women’s game.
Led by Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn, this USWNT side have so much experience but there are also exciting young talents coming through with Mallory Swanson and Trinity Rodman excelling in recent months.
Below is a closer look at the the new USWNT 2023 World Cup jerseys, with the away kit also to be worn by the USMNT.
U.S. Soccer say that the inspiration for the jerseys are “from abstract expressionism, an international art movement that started in the 1940s in New York and shifted the art epicenter from Europe to the U.S., similar to what the USA team has done for women’s soccer.”
They add there is “a custom USA ‘signature'” as the “bespoke mark is hand painted with ink on paper, and is a nod to the abstract expressionism movement, where each artist would sign their painting. Lastly, the USA’s inner pride mark celebrates the USWNT’s four Women’s World Cup championships in 1991, 1999, 2015 and 2019.”
When it comes to the home kit, U.S. Soccer say it is “an unexpected take on the tradition of wearing white at home and features a bespoke drip paint technique pattern. Highlighting the energy of the USWNT and how they are diverse players and personalities, but always united, the action painting method pattern features a distinctive placement, making every single jersey unique.”
For the blue away kit, which will be worn by both the USWNT and USMNT, there are “bespoke stars and stripe print on the sleeve cuffs – a diagonal stripe with intersecting stars – and a neckline that also features red blades, formed to look like the tip of stars.”
They add that those shapes are “subtle, patriotic nods to the hidden shapes that are inspired by abstract expressionism art.”
Here is a look at both USWNT World Cup jerseys in a little more detail, plus the USMNT showing off their new away kits.
19 July v MLS All-Stars (Washington DC) 22 July v Man Utd (New York) 26 July v Barcelona (Los Angeles)
Premier League Summer Series in USA 23 July v Newcastle (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia) 26 July v Fulham (Exploria Stadium, Orlando) 30 July v Brentford (FedExField, Landover, Maryland)
Premier League Summer Series in USA 23 July v Fulham (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia) 26 July v Brighton (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta) 30 July v Aston Villa (FedExField, Landover, Maryland)
Premier League Summer Series in USA 22 July v Chelsea (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia) 26 July v Brentford (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta) 28 July v Newcastle (Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey)
19 July v Wrexham (North Carolina) 2 August v Dortmund (Chicago)
Premier League Summer Series in USA 22 July v Brighton (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia) 26 July v Newcastle (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta) 30 July v Fulham (FedExField, Landover, Maryland)
26 July v Millonarios (Chicago) 30 July v Sevilla (Detroit)
Premier League Summer Series in USA 23 July v Brentford (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia) 26 July v Aston Villa (Exploria Stadium, Orlando) 30 July v Chelsea (FedExField, Landover, Maryland)
23 July v Spurs (Bangkok) 30 July v Liverpool (Singapore)
30 July v Leicester (Singapore) 2 August v Bayern Munich (Singapore)
23 July v Yokohama F Marinos (Tokyo) 26 July v Bayern Munich (Tokyo)
30 July v Atletico Madrid (Seoul)
12 July v Leeds (Oslo)
19 July v Lyon (Edinburgh) 22 July v Arsenal (New York) 25 July v Wrexham (San Diego) 26 July v Real Madrid (Houston) 30 July v Dortmund (Las Vegas)
18 July v Rangers (Ibrox Stadium)
Premier League Summer Series in USA 23 July v Aston Villa (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia) 26 July v Chelsea (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta) 28 July v Brighton (Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey)
18 July v West Ham (Perth) 23 July v Leicester (Bangkok) 26 July v Roma (Singapore)
15 July v Perth Glory (Perth) 18 July v Spurs (Perth)