Manchester City to buy new attacker by end of July

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As buying season heats up, Manchester City have announced they hope to bring in a new striker by the end of July.

News of the Citizens intent to buy came straight from manager Manuel Pellegrini following his side’s 2-0 loss to South Africa’s SuperSport United.

“We are aware that we need two or three more players,” Pellegrini said. “I said before we came to South Africa that we need two players for each position and that’s what we are looking for and I’m sure we will get them.”

The most pressing need for City is up top, where Pellegrini said “[it’s] difficult to say exactly which day but before the end of the month we will have a new attacker.”

City has had its strike ranks reduced in half since the beginning of last season. After selling Mario Balotelli to AC Milan for $28.7 million (£19m) in last January’s transfer window, the Sky Blues shipped off Carlos Tevez to Juventus for the cut-rate fee of $15.1 million (£10m) in late June.

The Citizens had been hot on the trail of Napoli striker Edinson Cavani before the goal-scorer snubbed a move to the Premier League in favor of a $83 million (£55m) transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

With Cavani out of the picture, City has reportedly turned its attention to Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo and Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic. In fact, if The Sun is to be believed, City may move for both forwards in a $60 million (£40m) swoop.

Jovetic is a versatile attacked who can play striker, in the hole, or either flank. The 23 year old is known as a pacy player with masterful technique, dribbling ability, vision and passing to complement his knack for finding the back of the net. At just over 6 feet tall, he is well-sized for the Premier League and possesses great toughness, a result of his upbringing at Partizan Belgrade.

Negredo is even more physically imposing than Jovetic. An out-and-out center forward, the acquisition of the Spaniard could signal the end of Eden Dzeko’s time at the Etihad. Accompanying Negredo’s size and strength are a flair for the dramatic and an underrated set of foot-skills that can surprise defenders.

 

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.