For 65 minutes on Saturday, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur side looked destined for three invaluable away points against Crystal Palace. Harry Kane’s 49th-minute goal put Tottenham up a goal and Palace were on the ropes as they struggled to create more than a couple early chances.
Then, in the 67th minute, Spurs midfielder Benjamin Stambouli was whistled for a questionable foul (upon further review on replay) against Joe Ledley inside the penalty area. Dwight Gayle stepped up to the spot and there was absolutely nothing Hugo Lloris could do to keep the ball out of his net. 1-1, and suddenly all the momentum was with the home side.
With Spurs now down 2-1, Kane was then denied in the 85th minute what looked to be an even more obvious penalty than the one given to Palace earlier in the game. After the game finished 2-1, Pochettino was fairly adamant that the two penalty decisions were the game’s key moment (above video).
After pushing for the Premier League title in the 2022-23 season but coming up short at the business end of the campaign, there is an extremely good squad already assembled and Arsenal will be in the UEFA Champions League next season.
That means extra experience and quality will be needed.
Arteta continues to rejuvenate an already stunning attack that includes Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and captain Martin Odegaard, but it is perhaps in midfield and defense where he will look to do business this summer.
Below we roundup the latest done deals, reports and rumors and give our analysis on Arsenal transfer news as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) will guide you through a hectic next few months.
June 10 – Arsenal prepared to pay for Man City wantaway
Joao Cancelo is not going to Bayern Munich and Mikel Arteta is apparently happy to lure the Man City playmaker to North London.
Football Transfers says that Arsenal’s been quoted an approximate $56 million price tag for the playmaking fullback, who cost a bit more than that when City took him off Juventus’ hands in 2019.
Cancelo turned 29 late last months and featured for City and loan club Bayern Munich this season to the tune of three goals and 11 assists in 3,161 minutes. (NM)
June 4 – Arsenal midfield targets include Feyenoord star
The Gunners’ changes in midfield this summer could be more than simply chasing Declan Rice and replacing Granit Xhaka, but let’s focus on the latter.
Football.London claims that Arsenal’s found their ideal replacement for Xhaka, who is said to be nearing a Bayer Leverkusen move, and that Orkun Kokcu of Feyenoord is the man to take his place.
The Dutch-born Turkey international, 22, scored 12 times with five assists across all competitions last season and his ball progression and passing stats are out of this world (at least compared to the “next tier” of leagues by FBref.com).
It could take a $50M+ deal to land Kokcu, and the same report connects Arsenal with interest in Ilkay Gundogan, Moises Caicedo, Mason Mount, and Martin Zubimendi. (NM)
May 30 – Declan Rice linked with Bayern Munich
Our partners at Sky Germany say that Bayern Munich are very interested in signing Declan Rice from West Ham. Bayern, who won their 11-straight Bundesliga title on the final day of the season, have made Rice, 24, their top target as Thomas Tuchel is a huge fan of the England international.
Here is more from Sky Germany reporter Uli Kohler: “Tuchel had a phone call with Rice. I don’t know what they were talking about – maybe money, maybe about what he can expect here [in Munich]. Bayern is keen on him. They need a strong defensive midfielder but everybody knows there are a lot of other clubs interested in him. Bayern could afford it. They would like to keep it below €100m [£86.4m]. They have to look at their accounts very closely but I think they can afford it.”
Rice has long been linked with a move to Arsenal or Manchester United but it is believed that West Ham’s asking price for their captain and central midfielder (who is out of contract next summer) is putting up Premier League clubs. Bayern appear to be ready to pay close to the $120 million West Ham want for Rice. Is he worth it? He is. There is perhaps no better two-way central midfielder under the age of 25 in Europe and Rice’s ceiling is extremely high. (JPW)
May 23 – Bukayo Saka signs improved, extended contract
Bukayo Saka had hardly been linked with a move away from Arsenal, but with just one year left on his existing deal, the 21-year-old winger has put pen to paper on a new contract for three more years and (presumably) a lot more money. With one game left this season, Saka leads Arsenal in goals (13) and assists (11). Unfortunately for the rest of the Premier League, Saka’s very best is still probably to come. (AE)
May 22 – Mount, Rice, Gundogan key targets this summer
A report from The Athletic says that Arsenal want to sign Mason Mount, Declan Rice and Ilkay Gundogan this summer. With Granit Xhaka set to move on this summer and Arsenal struggling in central midfield (especially Thomas Partey) in the final months of this season, it is an area where Arteta wants to strengthen. Declan Rice is the main target but it will cost a huge amount to sign him from West Ham (reportedly over $130 million) despite Rice, 24, only having one more year left on his contract. Rice’s close friend Mount also has just a year left on his Chelsea contract and it appears he could be leaving Stamford Bridge this summer. Per the report, Liverpool and Manchester United both want to sign Mount from Chelsea too.
As for Gundogan, he is another player who has just one year left on his contract at Manchester City and the City skipper has long been linked with a move to Barcelona. On paper it seems like Gundogan, 32, could be a really good addition to this Arsenal side. He would help the youngsters continue to develop, while he has worked closely with Mikel Arteta before when the current Arsenal boss was assistant coach at Man City. We’ve all seen how well Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko have settled in at Arsenal after arriving from Man City and Gundogan would provide the quality, experience and winning knowhow Arsenal need to make the next step. (JPW)
May 15 – Arsenal joined by Man Utd in Simakan pursuit
Mikel Arteta is targeting 23-year-old RB Leipzig center back Mohamed Simakan, though he’ll face competition from within the Premier League according to Fichajes.
Simakan has produced three goals and eight assists across all competitions this season, also spending time at right back and even a bit more advanced over the course of the campaign.
A very good passer and monster in the air, the French young international left Strasbourg for Leipzig in 2021 and has been a force this season despite missing a handful of games for various ailments. (NM)
April 18 – Declan Rice prefers move to Arsenal, not Newcastle, this summer
With just one year remaining on his current contract, Declan Rice is all but certain to leave West Ham this summer, as Arsenal and Newcastle are both 1) preparing to be in next season’s UEFA Champions League, and 2) very interested in the 24-year-old services.
However, all signs point toward Rice and Arsenal arranging a deal sometime in the coming weeks and/or months. According to a report from talkSPORT, Rice prefers to make the short move from east London to north London, where the Mikel Arteta requires a defensive-minded midfielder around which to build the next team in his Arsenal project.
West Ham will hope to get somewhere in the neighborhood of $125 million for Rice, but that could be a difficult sales pitch to Arsenal, who could simply wait 12 more months and sign him for free. (AE)
April 9 – Gunners could vie with Tottenham for Ligue 1 hotshot
Montpellier striker Elye Wahi’s 12 goals and three assists this season have Arsenal and Tottenham (as well as PSG) looking to woo the striker to North London this summer, according to French site Jeunes Footeux.
Wahi turned 20 in January and he has a contract through the 2024-25 season so he won’t come cheap. The report says Montpellier’s asking for around $35 million.
The center forward’s more than 6-feet tall and had four goals and an assist in his last four games entering Sunday’s league match with Toulouse.
The advanced stats say Wahi’s a raw scorer; He carries the ball above average but has been effective almost strictly as a finisher. Mikel Arteta already has a young English-American center forward coming back from loan in France and a few options already in North London but… maybe? (NM)
April 1 – Aurelien Tchouameni targeted by Arsenal (again)
Real Madrid splashed a lot of cash on Monaco star Aurelien Tchouameni, but his status as an expensive player who isn’t starting opens him up for a sale, according to Catalan site El Nacional.
Long-linked with Arsenal and Liverpool before moving to Real, Tchouameni is also being mentioned as a target for Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, and Manchester United.
The 23-year-old has played very well when called upon, as advertised an excellent ball mover who relishes his space when the opponent has the ball.
Carlo Ancelotti has found minutes for Tchouameni but the loaded midfield situation means Real boss Florentino Perez is looking at an $80 million player who is often on the bench to start games. Could he look to recoup fees to splash on a striker? (NM)
March 20 – Arsenal wants Galatasaray fullback
Mikel Arteta wants some new blood at right back and his club is looking to Turkey for a French youngster.
Sacha Boey, 22, has been capped by France at several youth levels but has launched his profile sky high this season with Galatasaray.
Boey has two goals in 23 appearances this year, having moved from Rennes in 2021. He previously racked up 30-plus Ligue 1 appearances between Rennes and Dijon.
A report from Turkish site Aksam has Arsenal leading the race of Lyon, Sporting Lisbon, and Premier League clubs Crystal Palace and Aston Villa. (NM)
February 27 – Gunners linked with Serie A star striker, midfielder
Mikel Arteta sees some things he likes in Italy, where World Cup winner Lautaro Martinez and Serbia star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are reported as targets for the Arsenal.
Martinez, 25, had been starring for Inter Milan long before he helped Lionel Messi win a World Cup, and the Argentine has 16 goals and seven assists across all competitions this season.
The 27-year-old has 39 caps and seven goals for Serbia, and he’s twice been Serie A Best XI, including last season. Milinkovic-Savic is Lazio’s two-time defending Player of the Year.
Milinkovic-Savic is among the complete midfielders in the game. Newcastle and West Ham have also been heavily linked with his services, but only one is currently on pace to offer him European football. Advantage: Arsenal? (NM)
Twice-capped by Denmark, Hojlund started at home with Copenhagen before heading to Austria’s Sturm Graz.
Hojlund has 13 goals and five assists in 29 appearances across all competitions between Sturm Graz and Atalanta, scoring against Dynamo Kiev in Champions League qualification for the latter.
He’s one to watch, but it’s also worth noting that Atalanta just purchased him in summer and is very much in the race for Champions League places in Serie A. He could do worse than collecting some group stage seasoning in the UCL and UEL at a club that spotted him early. Heck, would a club like Arsenal consider a summer buy and loan back to Italy? (NM)
February 25 – Bukayo Saka, William Saliba approach new deals
Reports out of North London say that Arsenal is nearing new deals with 21-year-olds: Center back William Saliba and, perhaps more eye-catching, playmaker Bukayo Saka.
Saka signed his current deal in 2019 and it runs through the end of the 2023-24 season: It’s safe to say his career has since found a new level.
London-born and with 24 England caps, Saka is one of the faces of Arsenal’s renaissance. A relentless worker off the ball, he has nine goals and eight assists in Premier League play this season and would fetch a heaping helping of salary on the open market.
Easy decision for the Gunners, given his status within the team. (NM)
Arsenal confirmed transfers & signings – January 2023 window
Leandro Trossard – Brighton & Hove Albion ($33.4 million)
Jorginho – Chelsea ($14.8 million)
Jakub Kiwior – Spezia (undisclosed)
Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Coventry) Loan
Miguel Azeez (Wigan) Loan
Arthur Okonkwo (Sturm Graz) Loan
Ovie Ejeheri (SJK Seinajoki) Loan
Harry Clarke (Ipswich Town)
Arsenal archived transfer news, January 2023
January 31 – Arsenal confirm Jorginho signing
Jorginho has joined Arsenal on an 18-month contract, for a reported fee of $14.8 million. The 31-year-old Italian, who started 15 of 20 Premier League games for Chelsea this season, should be an incredibly useful (and experienced) figure for Mikel Arteta, as the Gunners try to lift the PL trophy for the first time since 2004.
January 31 – Arsenal moves for Jorginho as Caicedo move collapses
Brighton wasn’t lying when it came to their desire to keep Moises Caicedo for a European push, and Arsenal has made a new plan.
Reports say that Arsenal will sign Chelsea midfielder Jorginho on an 18-month deal with an option for an additional year. The price tag? About $15 million.
Sure some Arsenal fans won’t love buying a player off of Chelsea, but Jorginho is one of the great game readers of his generation. The risk is low. (NM)
January 29 – Brighton without Caicedo as talks continue
A report from the Daily Mail says Arsenal have submitted a second bid for Moises Caicedo, with an improved offer of $86.6 million going in. Brighton are said to want $100 million for Caicedo. He did not play against Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday and reportedly he will not be around the team until Feb. 1, after the transfer deadline. Brighton have told Caicedo they want him to stay but his social media posting asking to be allowed to leave has put the writing on the wall. Will Arsenal up their offer and get their main ahead of Chelsea? (JPW)
De Zerbi: “Caicedo is a good guy. We will see. We hope he stays with us but this question for the club and Moises”🚨🇪🇨 #BHAFC#AFC
January 28 – Moises Caicedo saga takes another twist
Ecuadorian midfielder Moises Caicedo has reportedly not shown up for training at Brighton after previously posting a message on social media asking for him to be allowed to leave. Arsenal reportedly had a $65 million bid for Caicedo rejected as Brighton do not want to sell him in January. Fabrizio Romano has said that Arsenal will go in with an improved offer. Caicedo, 21, has been a revelation for the Seagulls and has been chased by Chelsea, and many other Premier League heavyweights, since the summer. This latest twist could force Brighton’s hand in the final hours of the January window but they are likely to want closer to $85 million for their talented box-to-box midfielder. (JPW)
EXCL: Moises Caicedo didn’t turn up for training today — he wants leave immediately. Caicedo could also miss tomorrow’s game. ⚠️ #BHAFC
🚨 Understand Arsenal are expected to improve their bid, after £60m revealed yesterday. #AFC
It has been reported by The Times that Chelsea have stepped up interest in Everton’s Belgium midfielder Amadou Onana. The 21-year-old has been one of the only bright spots in Everton’s dreadful campaign and the Belgian international is seen as a player Chelsea can sign this month to bolster their midfield and is easier (and much cheaper) to acquire than Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo. Onana arrived at Goodison from Lille last summer for a deal worth up to $40 million. It is believed Chelsea have offered $62 million initially for Onana, who can drive forward from midfield, is tidy on the ball and just always seems to make things happen. One problem: does Onana want to sign for Chelsea? A report from Belgian outlet Nieuwsblad states that Onana has rejected a move to Chelsea and wants to stay at Everton and keep them in the Premier League. There same report also says that a move to Arsenal could be a more realistic option for Onana. Are Arsenal and Chelsea settle to battle it out for yet another player? Keep a close eye on Onana late in this window. (JPW)
January 26 – Huge offer for Caicedo on the way?
It appears that Arsenal and Chelsea are going to go head-to-head for plenty of new signings and Moises Caicedo is the latest star player at the center of the battle. A report from the London Evening Standard says that Arsenal could spend $93 million on Caicedo, 21, as Chelsea have baulked at Brighton’s asking price and look to have moved on to other targets. The Ecuadorian midfielder has been a revelation in the Premier League this season and is exactly the kind of player Arsenal have made a habit of recruiting over the last few years: young, hungry, physical and focused. Caicedo has been chased by Chelsea for months and most expected him to join his former Brighton boss Graham Potter at Stamford Bridge in the upcoming transfer windows. Wherever he goes, Caicedo will make Brighton a huge profit and looks set for a brilliant Premier League as a holding midfielder. (JPW)
January 25 – One back in (from La Liga), one out to Fulham
Reports say that Arsenal will led Cedric Soares head on loan to London neighbors Fulham, but not without a replacement.
Sky Sports says that Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund are in hot pursuit of Real Valladolid right back Ivan Fresneda.
Marca says that Fresneda missed Valladolid training amid reports that Arsenal matched BVB’s $15 million bid for the back.
The 18-year-old has started regularly for Valladolid this season when healthy and has represented Spain at the U-18 and U-19 levels.
Valladolid doesn’t have a lot of the ball so there are limited ways to judge his attacking production even by advanced metrics, but he does rank well in receiving the ball and has terrific numbers in tackles, interceptions, and clearances according to FBref.com. (NM)
January 24 – Leeds join battle for McKennie
After USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie was linked with a move to Arsenal, it appears that Leeds United are also keen on the American. According to Fabrizio Romano, McKennie is an option Leeds are looking at. With Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson already at Elland Road, thanks largely to American coach Jesse Marsch, perhaps McKennie will head to Leeds where he will likely play every week? That probably won’t be the case at Arsenal, at least initially. (JPW)
Leeds are exploring new options for the midfield including Weston McKennie. It’s one of the possibilities considered by the club as @MatteMoretto has reported ⚪️🇺🇸 #LUFC
January 23 – USMNT star Weston McKennie linked with $22-27 million transfer
According to a report from Gazzetta dello Sport, USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie is wanted by Arsenal. Per the report, Arsenal are in talks with Juve and are willing to spend around $22-27 million on McKennie. The American midfielder could be part of the mass exodus at Juventus given the recent turmoil at the club, as the Italian giants were just handed a 15-point deduction amid ongoing investigations into finances and the governance of the club. The report says McKennie could be sell to fund the arrival of a new winger. McKennie has long been linked with Tottenham, and other PL clubs, but this move to Arsenal would suit his style of play very well and he would be a great midfielder to rotate in for Xhaka and Partey, while his versatility means he can slot in at right back, center back and elsewhere. (JPW)
January 23 – Declan Rice linked with Arsenal again
Okay, so Arsenal are definitely trying to sign a central midfielder. And it seems like Declan Rice is their top target for this summer. Rice’s contract at West Ham is ticking down and although Chelsea and Manchester United also wanted to sign the England international, a report from the Guardian says that Rice would prefer a move to Arsenal (JPW)
January 21 – Eduardo Camavinga loan talks
This is a real surprise, isn’t it? According to the London Evening Standard, Arsenal are in talks with Real Madrid over a loan move for Eduardo Camavinga. The 20-year-old France international has struggled to become a regular at Real and it appears he wants more regular action. Will he get that at Arsenal? It’s hard to see the duo of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey being broken up but maybe Camavinga could play alongside them both in a more defensive midfield setup? Camavinga is a quality player and if Arsenal can get this loan move sealed, it significantly strengthens their options in central midfield. (JPW)
January 20 – Leandro Trossard confirmed as newest Arsenal signing
It seems like Leandro Trossard is getting closer to joining Arsenal in January. Per Fabrizio Romano, the Brighton and Belgium star has agreed personal terms and is just waiting for the Gunners and Seagulls to agree a transfer fee. Trossard, 28, has fallen out with Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi and is out of their plans. It has been reported that Brighton want over $33 million for Trossard as he has just six months left on his current contract but Brighton can also trigger an extra year so he basically has 18 months left on his current deal. Would this be a good move for Arsenal? Absolutely, 1000 percent yes. Trossard can slot into several different roles in their wide, midfield and attacking areas and can also do a job at full back or wing-back. He is versatile, has quality on the ball and this season he has added plenty of goals to his name. Mikel Arteta needs extra depth in wide areas and Trossard provides that. It will be key to keeping Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli fresh. This is one of those situations where it is a great deal for all involved. (JPW)
EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal have opened talks to sign Leandro Trossard from Brighton, negotiations are advanced with official bid ready for permanent move. 🚨⚪️🔴 #AFC
Arsenal are being linked with wingers galore at the moment and it appears Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby is the latest target. According to our partners in the UK at Sky Sports, Arsenal have reached out to Leverkusen about the availability of Diaby. The 23-year-old winger is a French international and Leverkusen have reportedly said he is worth over $108 million. Does that fee sound familiar? It is the transfer fee Chelsea just paid Shakhtar Donetsk for Mudryk and is now seen as the reference point for a talented winger in Europe. Diaby’s speed, crossing ability and penchant to cut inside mean he is very similar to Arsenal’s current wide players and he would slot into this system perfectly. He also creates and scores a lot of goals (25 assists and 23 goals since the start of the 2020-21 season), which is always handy. It seems like a move in the summer is more likely but Arsenal are putting the building blocks in place. (JPW)
January 16 – Gunners in Declan Rice driver’s seat?
The 24-year-old England midfielder is part of the Irons’ potent midfield with Lucas Paqueta and Tomas Soucek, but has been said to want UEFA Champions League football and 15th-place West Ham is well off top-half standards so far this season.
Rice was long ticketed for old club Chelsea, but the Blues are said to prefer Enzo Fernandez and other options for the center of the park. (NM)
January 16 – Raphinha, Ferran Torres interest
According to 90min Arsenal have enquired about Barcelona duo Raphinha and Ferran Torres. Per the report, Arsenal’s sporting director Edu has held talks with Barca to see if the two wide forwards are available. After missing out on Mudryk, Arsenal still want to sign a new winger. It is believed both Raphinha and Torres could be available as Barcelona need to cut their wage bill further. Raphinha was a key target for Arsenal last summer but joined Barca from Leeds instead but the Brazilian winger has struggled to nail down a starting spot at the Nou Camp. If Arsenal could sign Raphinha for less than the $70 million Barcelona paid for him last summer, that would represent a very good deal for the Gunners. He knows the Premier League inside out and his style of play would suit this Arsenal side extremely well as he could rotate in and out of the lineup with Saka and Martinelli. (JPW)
January 15 – Gunners have interest in Leandro Trossard
According to David Ornstein, Arsenal are now interested in signing Leandro Trossard from Brighton. After missing out on Mudryk, the Gunners still want to improve their options out wide and Trossard has six months left on his current deal at Brighton with the Seagulls having an option to extend his contract by a year. Trossard, 28, has been left out of Brighton’s recent squads and his agents released a statement saying his time at Brighton is basically up after falling out with manager Roberto De Zerbi. Trossard is proven in the Premier League and will be a very good option to rotate into Arsenal’s attacking lineup. (JPW)
January 15 – Mudryk signs in $108 million deal on eight-and-a-half year deal
Mykhailo Mudryk has signed for Chelsea, as the Blues reportedly offered him double what Arsenal were prepared to pay him in wages. Mudryk, 22, has signed an eight-and-a-half year deal and the Ukrainian winger will be a big part of their future as they continue to expensively revamp their squad. As for Arsenal, this is one that got away as the finances of the deal just didn’t add up for the Gunners. They are now moving on to other options… (JPW)
January 14 – Chelsea could snap up Mudryk from under the noses of Arsenal
This is absolutely bonkers. There have been reports over the last week or so that Chelsea could make a move for Mudryk but this latest update from Fabrizio Romano seems to be a lot more concrete and Chelsea are trying to get one over their London rivals. Arsenal have been haggling over the transfer fee for many days with Shakhtar and it seems like Chelsea are ready to pay the Ukrainian side whatever they want for the talented winger. This would be a huge blow for Arsenal but I guess every player has his price, right? (JPW)
🚨 EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea board now in Poland trying to reach verbal agreement with Shakhtar for Mudryk and hijack the deal! Official bid ready close to €100m. 🔵 #CFC
Arsenal always been leading the race, in talks with Shakhtar after 3d official bid.
January 13 – Arsenal, Shakhtar ironing out transfer fee structure for Mudryk
According to the latest report regarding Arsenal’s pursuit of Mykhaylo Mudryk, progress is being made as Arsenal and Shakhtar Donetsk go back and forth over the transfer fee. $60 million is the latest reported base fee, with another $30 million expected in add-ons. (AE)
January 10 – Mudryk travels with Shakhtar as talks continue
The latest reports on Mykhaylo Mudryk to Arsenal have arrived and although the Gunners seem to be encouraged that they can strike a deal, the Ukraine international winger has flown to Turkey and gone on tour with them. Shakhtar are currently on a midseason break and Mudryk, 22, has been on holiday and working with a personal trainer to keep himself sharp. He is now heading away with the team for training and friendly games, so a deal does not appear to be imminent.
That said, a report from the Daily Express suggests that Shakhtar are finally open to negotiating down their asking price of $100 million and some compromises are being found. This all hinges on how much Arsenal are willing to pay up front and how much Shakhtar are willing to accept in installments. The structure of the deal seems to be being worked out and Arsenal really need to add another forward player so they can rotate their attacking lineup. (JPW)
Shakhtar Donetsk finally show signs of cracking over Mykhaylo Mudryk as Arsenal make positive steps towards agreement during talks on Monday. First time Gunners have received indication deal can be struck on what they consider to be realistic terms. #AFChttps://t.co/Xh67VnFCnD
January 9 – Alejandro Balde to Arsenal or Newcastle?
A report from Sport in Spain says that both Arsenal and Newcastle want to sign Barcelona left back Alejandro Balde. The versatile 19-year-old has become a regular for the Spanish giants this season but is yet to sign a new contract at the Nou Camp. Per the report, the issues with his contract talks at Barca involve the financial restraints they are facing and that has caused issues trying to agree new long-term contracts with current players. Newcastle and Arsenal have both reached out about Balde’s availability as his current contract runs out in the summer of 2024. Already a Spanish international, Balde is a huge talent and per the report his agent, Jorge Mendes, has told Barcelona that they could sell him to generate cash to help their financial situation. Both Arsenal and Newcastle are looking to add players in a structured and sensible way and Balde’s quality, and age, tick all of their boxes in terms of their recruitment model. (JPW)
January 3 – Chelsea ready to pounce to seal Mudryk deal
Another day, another update on Mykhaylo Mudryk but this does not involved Arsenal. Per a report from Jack Rosser of The Sun, Chelsea are ready to snap up the extremely talented Ukraine international as Arsenal have yet to agree a transfer fee with Shakhtar Donetsk. Mudryk, 21, is Arsenal’s main target in the January window but Chelsea certainly need some fresh attacking talent too and Shakhtar’s sporting director Darijo Srna is set to hold talks with the Blues this week. This all feels very Willian and Luis Diaz esque. (JPW)
Exclusive: Chelsea are in talks with Shakhtar Donetsk over a deal for Mykhaylo Mudryk and could hijack Arsenal's move.
Darijo Srna expected in London to meet with the Blues this week.
January 3 – Improved bid for Mudryk but Chelsea lurking
Another day, another update on Arsenal’s pursuit of Mykhaylo Mudryk. Per a report from Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal have submitted a bid of over $52.8 million up front to Shakhtar Donetsk. Plenty of add ons are included in the deal too. Romano adds that if Arsenal and Shakhtar cannot agree a fee, Chelsea are waiting in the wings to snap up the extremely talented Ukraine international. Mudryk, 21, is Arsenal’s main target in the January window and given their recent recruitment success, it seems likely he will be another key part of Mikel Arteta’s jigsaw. (JPW)
Arsenal second proposal for Mykhaylo Mudryk is close to €50m fixed fee plus add-ons. Shakhtar expected to make a decision, the clubs are in direct contact. ⚪️🔴🇺🇦 #AFC
December 30 – Shakhtar negotiating with Arsenal over Mudryk transfer
That sound you can hear is Arsenal fans rubbing their hands with glee as Edu and Co. aim to sign one of the top young wingers in Europe. According to Shakhtar Donetsk chief executive Sergei Palkin, Arsenal are speaking with the Ukrainian club and they are haggling over a transfer fee. Arsenal have reportedly had an offer of over $66 million rejected by Shakhtar. The Ukrainian giants are said to want close to $100 million. Palkin spoke on Thursday and said: “Negotiations are continuing. We receive offers, but they are not the ones we would like to see on our table. Now, literally in five minutes, I will have a phone conversation with Arsenal. We are open to negotiations, ready to exchange ideas and figures. If we will agree, then let it be so. If we will not, then let it be another time.”
Per our partners in the UK at Sky Sports, there is ‘cautious optimism’ the deal can be completed as Mudryk’s representatives have reportedly already agreed personal terms and are now waiting on the two teams to agree a transfer fee. What would Mudryk bring? He fits Arsenal’s model of being a young, hungry player who can is technically gifted but also has incredible work rate. If he arrives he could allow the likes of Saka and Martinelli to play in slightly different roles and he adds real quality into their attacking rotation. As we’ve seen with the injury to Gabriel Jesus, this Arsenal squad is still pretty thin. But if Arsenal does sign Mudryk, it makes perfect sense and slots in with their identity as a club. Whenever Arsenal have spent big in recent seasons (Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel, Thomas Partey, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White are just a few examples) they have got it largely spot on. (JPW)
December 27 – Arsenal makes bid for Mykhailo Mudryk
Reports say that Arsenal has approached Shakhtar Donetsk with a $67 million bid for in-demand forward Mykhailo Mudryk.
The Ukrainian club is said to want over $100 million for the winger, who has eight caps for Ukraine and turns 22 on Jan. 5.
Some reports have said the move is “imminent,” but Mudryk’s been linked with Manchester City amongst others. He’s scored 10 times with eight assists in 18 matches across all competitions this season.
Mudryk is an electric dribbler who plays mainly on the left side, where fellow 21-year-old Gabriel Martinelli has often starred opposite another 21-year-old Bukayo Saka on the right. Relatively elderly Gabriel Jesus, 25, has been the Gunners center forward in front of 23-year-old Eddie Nketiah. The club also has Reiss Nelson and Marquinhos plus long-injured Emile Smith-Rowe. Wow.
Shakhtar is transferring from the Champions League to the Europa League playoffs, while Arsenal has a bye past the playoffs into the Round of 16. (NM)
Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City ($54.7 million)
Fabio Vieira – Porto ($42 million) – MORE
Oleksandr Zinchenko – Manchester City ($35.9 million)
Matt Turner – New England Revolution ($10.2 million) – MORE
Marquinhos – Sao Paulo ($3.5 million)
Matteo Guendouzi – Marseille ($10.8 million)
Alexandre Lacazette (end of contract)
Auston Trusty – Birmingham City (loan)
Bernd Leno – Fulham ($5 million)
Lucas Torreira – Galatasaray ($7.5 million)
Konstantinos Mavropanos – Stuttgart ($4.75 million)
Hector Bellerin – (end of contract)
Nuno Tavares – Marseille (loan)
Pablo Mari – Monza (loan)
Nicolas Pepe – Nice (loan)
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – Southampton (loan)
Runar Alex Runarsson – Alanyaspor (loan)
Arsenal archived transfer news, rumors
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)
💬 "First of all I would like to say, this is a boyhood dream come true."
📺 Watch our first interview with our new signing now! 👇
July 4 – Gabriel Jesus to Arsenal signed, sealed, delivered
What a move for Arsenal this is. Gabriel Jesus, 25, has joined the Gunners for $54.7 million from Manchester City, and Mikel Arteta will be absolutely delighted with this deal. With Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez arriving this summer, Jesus needed to move to get more minutes as he aims to start for Brazil at the World Cup in November. He has found the perfect spot at Arsenal, as they needed a number nine, his playing style and philosophy matches theirs perfectly, and he knows Arteta very well from the latter being Man City’s assistant coach. This transfer works so well for everyone it actually hurts. Now, if Jesus can just become a little more clinical, this will be one of the deals of the summer, but at least we now know that Jesus wants to play up front instead of on the right. (JPW)
💬 "I am so happy to be here to help. I come to help, to learn as well, and to try to do my best"
📺 Watch Gabriel Jesus' first interview right here 👇
June 27 – Matt Turner completes his move to Arsenal
USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner has completed his move to Arsenal and is in north London settling in at his new club. It will take a lot for Turner to usurp Aaron Ramsdale as Arsenal’s starting goalkeeper but he should get plenty of minutes in the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League this season. It will be intriguing to see how Turner fares early on at Arsenal, especially as they are heading to the U.S. on a preseason tour and he should play plenty of minutes for the Gunners as he gets to know his new teammates, coaches and settles in further. (JPW)
Arsenal has purchased Fabio Vieira — no relation to Patrick — for a reported $42 million fee.
The Porto man just turned 21 in late May and racked up the joint second-most assists in Portugal last season despite playing under 1400 minutes.
What else will the Gunners get in Vieira, who can play left wing or second striker in addition to attacking midfield? Click here for more. (NM)
June 10 – Young forward Marquinhos set to join Gunners for $3.7 million
Marquinhos, 19, is set to join Arsenal from Sao Paulo, according to The Guardian. They say that Arsenal have ‘won the race’ to sign the Brazilian forward, who will sign a five-year contract. Marquinhos is definitely a player for the future after he broke through at Sao Paulo last season and has been capped by Brazil at U17 level. As for a player for the here and now, this report states that Gabriel Jesus remains Arsenal’s main target. If they can bring in Jesus then Arteta will be delighted as the Gunners’ young squad continues to move in the direction as they battle for a top four finish. (JPW)
June 9 – Alexandre Lacazette rejoins Lyon, who he left to sign for Arsenal
Alexandre Lacazette’s Arsenal departure was already confirmed, but we now know that the 31-year-old French forward has rejoined Lyon on a free transfer. Lacazette spent seven season in the Lyon first team, where he scored 129 goals in 275 appearances (all competitions) from 2010-2017, before leaving the Ligue 1 side to sign for Arsenal. He made 206 appearances for the Gunners and scored 71 times in five seasons at the Emirates Stadium. (AE)
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 10 – City opens talks with RB Leipzig over Gvardol
Updating our previous post, it seems Gvardiol is City’s “No. 1 target” this summer as Football Insider says that Pep Guardiola’s team has already opened discussions with Leipzig over the elite center back.
Ruben Dias and Josko Gvardiol? Wow. City could go from a 3-2-4-1 to a 2-8. We kid… kinda. (NM)
June 2 – Gvardiol wanted by City as one center back could move on
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)
The Premier League winners three times running have an FA Cup under their belt after beating Manchester United on June 3 and the final jewel in their treble crown awaits with a win in Istanbul on June 10.
Manchester City’s quest for the treble hits its final obstacle when Inter Milan goes toe-to-toe with the Premier League and FA Cup champions in Istanbul at Saturday’s UEFA Champions League Final.
Pep Guardiola’s weren’t at their very best against Manchester United in the FA Cup Final and still walked away with its second trophy of the season.
But City’s final two Premier League matches saw dropped points. The stakes were non-existent and the team quite changed by Guardiola, who’s known to fancy a tactical wrinkle. How will things change this weekend?
It would be stunning if Inter boss Simone Inzaghi came out in anything but a 3-5-2, which has been his go-to formation for Inter Milan this season regardless of opponent.
But might Inzaghi have something up his sleeve?
Inter’s only losses in the Champions League came in the group stage versus Bayern Munich. Add in their setbacks in Serie A and there’s still been no standard recipe for beating Inter. There isn’t one for Man City, either, of course.
If there’s a single player capable of messing with Pep Guardiola’s plan to control the game and get the ball to his creators in dangerous spots, it’s Croatian veteran Marcelo Brozovic. The 30-year-old is a force who can both be the club’s metronome and break up the opposition’s best attacks. There are few players in the world like De Bruyne, but he needs to be found in space and City needs the ball to do that. Brozovic can be a big part of limiting both of those things.
Erling Haaland vs Francesco Acerbi
Maybe the two names need to be switched in order, because Acerbi is going to have his hands full with Haaland. The question is whether the 35-year-old Acerbi, still very good but no longer in his prime, can use his nous and vast experience to limit Haaland’s chances to do the exceptional. Haaland, meanwhile, just has to be himself. Ask yourself who’s being asked more.
Andre Onana vs Man City’s attack
Picking one player, even Haaland or De Bruyne, for this battle is unfair to the exercise because let’s be real. There is no chance that Inter Milan wins this game without a supreme moment or two from its goalkeeper. Andre Onana has played every Champions League match for Inter and has had his fair share of outstanding performances. He’s outperformed expected goals on target by 6.7 goals over the course of the tournament.