Pep Guardiola reported some good news on Friday as Gabriel Jesus is set to take part in first-team training as he makes his way back from injury.
Jesus picked up a knee ligament injury on New Year’s Eve against Crystal Palace and has missed Manchester City’s last 11 matches. But marksman Sergio Aguero has more than held down the fort, and now Guardiola has a selection headache as Jesus tries to get fit for the Carabao Cup final on February 25. Man City face Wigan in the FA Cup this Monday, though it’s not clear if Jesus will be fit in time for that.
Guardiola on Gabriel Jesus: "Today he is going to train with the group. It's good news. I don't know when he will be ready to be with us but the first step is to join the team for training. He did one or two weeks alone."
Without Jesus in the lineup, Aguero has been in sparkling form, scoring 14 goals in 11 matches in all competitions, including a pair of hat-tricks, one ending with four goals scored. While Jesus had a good scoring record early in the season, it would be hard to see Guardiola replacing Aguero after his goal-scoring exploits the last two months, which is good for a team in the running for four titles this season.
Now Jesus will have more time to recover and find his form in moments off the bench, and he won’t have the pressure to score, with Aguero and co. shouldering the load.
Ighalo nears reported loan extension at Manchester United
Sources close to the player have said negotiations are continuing between United and Shanghai Shenhua on Sunday but an extended loan deal until January 30 is now “looking most likely”.
That will allow Ighalo to complete the season with United and while the 2020/21 calendar remains up in the air, he will almost certainly spend the first few months of that campaign with the club as well.
Ighalo has fit the bill as a fill-in striker for the Red Devils, who had lost Rashford to injury. He has four goals in eight appearances for United after 46 goals in three seasons abroad.
Shanghai lost more than a bit of its power once United made it clear that it wouldn’t be held hostage over a veteran striker. United has at least one FA Cup match and three more Europa League legs to contend with on top of its PL slate, so any additional veteran savvy will be useful.
First up, a juicy report from Bild says that Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is trying to convince his Germany teammate and close friend Timo Werner to join hm at Stamford Bridge.
Werner, 24, has dazzled at RB Leipzig this season (31 goals in 40 games in all competitions) and is widely expected to leave with Liverpool, Man United and many others clubs across Europe chasing his signature. Per the report, Chelsea have Rudiger working hard to convince his friend and former Stuttgart teammate that west London is the place for him.
The release clause on Werner’s current contract is said to be $60 million and Chelsea are one of the few clubs who have a healthy transfer budget as they had a transfer ban for a whole year and Frank Lampard has just spent $44 million on one new signing so far, bringing in Hakim Ziyech who will not arrive until later this summer.
Werner is exactly what Chelsea need. They have created so many golden goalscoring opportunities and although Tammy Abraham was putting them away at the start of the season, his form and fitness was a concern in the last few months before the suspension.
Olivier Giroud is their only other forward option and Werner would be perfect to finish off the chances this attack-minded Chelsea team create. Even better for him, he would actually play at Chelsea which may not be the case at Liverpool and Man United given their stacked attacking lineups.
Heading to Manchester, it appears Alexis Sanchez may not be going back to his parent club next season.
Sanchez, 31, is on loan at Inter Milan for the 2019-20 season and the Daily Express claim that he could stay at Inter rather than heading back to Old Trafford despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer previously saying he was open to the idea. Per the report, Man United are keen to loan Sanchez out to Inter once again on a similar arrangement and the Serie A side are willing to see how Sanchez does when the season restarts in a few weeks. With Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and others around at Man United, he may struggle for minutes at Man United.
Would another loan be a good move for Inter?
Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have been their main strikers this season under Antonio Conte, with Sanchez out injured for large chunks of the campaign and then doing okay when he did play. However, with Martinez chased by Barcelona, if they do sell the Argentine forward for over $115 million, having Sanchez around on loan would soften the blow.
The main problem with Sanchez is that over the last three years he has picked up consistent injury problems. If he can shake those issues off, we all know he is capable of scoring goals and creating havoc. Given this recent track record though, that’s a big if, as he’s scored just one goal and added three assists in 15 outings for Inter this season.
Following the latest batch of tests on players and club staff the Premier League have revealed that zero out of 1130 COVID-19 tests taken on Thursday and Friday have come back positive.
The fourth round of testing is the first time that no positive tests have come back, as a total of 3,882 COVID-19 tests have now been carried out with 12 positive results.
All players and staff at Premier League clubs will be tested twice a week during the strict return to training protocols put in place, as full contact training is now up and running and a restart date of June 17 has been set.
Here is the statement from the Premier League in full:
The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive.
The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing.
Previous test results
Round 1: 17-18 May – 748 tested, with six testing positive from three clubs. Round 2: 19-22 May – 996 tested, with two testing positive from two clubs. Round 3: 25-26 May – 1,008 tested, with four testing positive from two clubs.