Fabian Delph

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Report: Sterling to be named England captain for match against Netherlands

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On the occasion of his 50th cap, Raheem Sterling is set to be bestowed with a major honor.

The Guardian in England reports that England manager Gareth Southgate is planning to hand Sterling the captain’s armband for England’s first match of the UEFA Nations League finals in Portugal, with England set to face the Netherlands in Guimaraes, Portugal on Thursday. Sterling is coming off a terrific season with Manchester City, winning the domestic treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

[READ: FIFA U-20 World Cup roundup]

While this is a terrific achievement for Sterling, reading between the lines, it could also hint that both Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson, previous England captains under Southgate, may be rested or at least be on the bench for the match. Both Kane and Henderson played in last Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final and despite having a three-week break prior to that match, Kane is clearly still working back to fitness. Both players went the full 90 in the match and with two games scheduled this week regardless of Thursday’s outcome for Southgate, he could decide that both should be rested until Sunday’s match.

If Kane is rested, we could see Marcus Rashford starting up top, while Fabian Delph or Declan Rice could slot into midfield.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: De Gea replacement tabbed, Man City duo to stay

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Manchester United has been linked with a zillion players this summer, and half the battle for fans is sifting through the nonsense and finding the deals that might actually make sense for the club.

One that seems to have significant legs is a report from a number of English tabloids on Monday and Tuesday that states Manchester United has made contact with Lille over goalkeeper Mike Maignan, seeing the French club respond with a valuation of around $39 million.

It seems the Red Devils are searching for long-term plans to replace David De Gea, whether the Spaniard leaves this summer via a sale or next summer at the expiration of his contract. Contract talks with de Gea have very publicly stalled over the past few months, and rumors again have flown of his eventual exit. The reports state that Manchester United had preliminary discussions with Barcelona for backup goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, but the Spanish side has reportedly been steadfast on holding to the Dutchman’s release clause of $67 million.

That has seen them search for cheaper options amid a summer that is expected to be expensive for the Red Devils. One could be Maignan who played every minute of Lille’s fabulous second-place Ligue 1 campaign last season, keeping 15 clean sheets and sporting the league’s best defensive record with 33 goals conceded in 38 matches. The club conceded two or more goals in a game just nine times all league season, and conceded three goals just once. The 23-year-old, who came to Lille in 2015 from PSG’s youth squad, was named goalkeeper of the year by the French professional footballers association for his fantastic campaign this year and earned his first call-up to the France national team squad for this summer’s Euro qualifiers, beating out Hugo Lloris‘s World Cup backup Steve Mandanda.


The two Manchester rivals appear to be the leaders in the chase for Benfica playmaker Joao Felix, with The Mirror stating the two clubs are in control of the market as they hope to get one last glimpse of the 19-year-old as Portugal takes on Switzerland in the Nations League semifinal Wednesday where the teenager is expected to earn his senior debut.

The report states that Felix could cost as much as a massive $150 million after a season where he racked up 15 goals and nine assists in league play for the Portuguese champions, plus another five goals and two assists in other competitions. Real Madrid and Juventus have also been linked to Felix in the past, but a report late last week said Los Blancos were scared off by his massive price, seeing a bid of around $101 million rejected, causing them to focus their efforts instead on Eden Hazard.

With superagent Jorge Mendes in tow, Felix and Benfica are both certain to cash in this summer, but it remains to be seen which club can snag his services. Manchester City would likely need to offload the likes of Leroy Sane in order to both raise the funds and create squad space for Felix.


The potential sale of Sane to Bayern Munich, which ramped up over the last week after the German side submitted a sizable bid for the 23-year-old, has seemed to hit a wall. Bayern hoped to pry Sane away from Manchester City after an up-and-down season saw the German international fail to secure a steady place in the starting lineup. Still, City seems ready to put up a fight, rejecting the bid and causing Bayern executive Uli Hoeness to declare the English club’s valuation of Sane “insane.”

While Sane’s future remains up in the air, a pair of other Man City stars look set to stay at the Etihad next season with David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan both eyeing more silverware in Manchester according to the BBC. Silva’s contract expires next summer, but at 33 years old, the club is happy to see him play out the remainder of his deal, as he would likely net very little in the transfer market this time around. Despite his increasing age, Silva has remained a critical part of the Man City attack, making 33 league appearances last season while scoring six goals and assisting eight. He started all but four of City’s final 19 matches as they battled Liverpool for the Premier League title.

Gundogan was also a fixture in the squad, shaking off an early hamstring injury that cost him all of October to make 31 Premier League appearances and starting all but one of the final 14 matches of the season to help carry the title chase. According to the BBC report, talks are ongoing to extend Gundogan’s contract which currently expires next summer. The 28-year-old joined three summers ago from Borussia Dortmund, and while he lost most of his first season with the club to an ACL tear, he has come back to prove a vital player in Pep Guardiola‘s setup.

The report does state, however, that Fabian Delph and Danilo could look to move on this summer after a season that proved trying for both to find consistent time on the pitch.


Another Premier League attacker who could be set to stay at his current club is Champions League final goalscorer Divock Origi, who according to The Mirror has been offered a new contract. The club is reportedly confident of tying down the 24-year-old to a new deal, with his current contract set to expire next summer.

Origi was a Champions League hero, scoring twice in the miracle comeback against Barcelona before his goal sealed the title in the 2-0 win over Tottenham. His three critical goals came on his only three shots in Champions League play, failing to record many minutes prior to his appearances down the stretch as necessitated by an injury to regular striker Roberto Firmino.

Still just 24 years old, Origi has not been a regular part of the Liverpool squad since arriving from Lille in 2014, instead loaned back to Lille before a loan spell at Germany’s Wolfsburg. He decided to stay at Anfield this season and fight for a place, earning just 366 Premier League minutes and 763 minutes across all competitions. Still, his performances in the biggest games of the season have seen him become a fan favorite, and staying at Anfield will make the Liverpool faithful happy.


Amid recent rape allegations surrounding an incident in Paris, Neymar has been reportedly unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain after the club’s most recent Champions League flop and his own flurry of personality issues. Still, he is signed on with the club through the summer of 2022, leaving him under PSG control for at least the next season or two.

According to a report by French radio station RMC Sport as passed on by Spanish publication Marca, PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelafi has deemed Neymar “untransferrable” and has said the Brazilian superstar will not leave the club this summer despite interest from both Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Report: Man City turns down Bayern bid for Leroy Sane

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According to a report by The Guardian, Manchester City has turned down a sizable $89 million bid from German champions Bayern Munich for winger Leroy Sane.

Guardian journalist Fabrizio Romano reports that he expects Bayern to seriously consider coming back with a larger bid as the club looks to pry Sane from the back-to-back Premier League champions. Sane’s contract expires in the summer of 2021, meaning with two years left on his deal, this would be the time for City to sell at top dollar.

[ MORE: Thursday Transfer Rumor Roundup ]

The 23-year-old has struggled for playing time at Manchester City over the past season, a fact which could work in Bayern’s favor. While he has racked up 63 Premier League appearances over the two championship seasons, Sane saw his minutes drop from over 2,400 last season to just 1,867 this past campaign, often used as a substitute late in games. He was especially under-utilized towards the end of the season as the team fought with Liverpool for the title, left as an unused substitute just as often as he made the starting lineup after January – five times.

Still, according to the report, Manchester City desperately wants to keep Sane at the Etihad. Pep Guardiola confirmed after the FA Cup final that the club has offered Sane a contract extension recently, saying, “We offered to extend his contract. We want him to stay. What proof is more than for six, seven months we want to extend his contract? If we don’t want him, we don’t extend his contract.”

Should Sane depart, Manchester City still sports outstanding depth on the wing, with Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Fabian Delph, and David Silva all capable of playing out wide.

Bayern Munich is hoping to replace the departing duo of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, both of whom are leaving the club at the expiration of their contracts. Kingsley Coman is a good bet to earn more playing time on the left and Serge Gnabry has impressed on the right, with both players under the age of 24, but Coman has struggled with injury problems in the past and Gnabry has a small sample size of success at the highest level.

Sane has experience in the Bundesliga, arriving at Manchester City in the summer of 2016 from German side Schalke, making 47 German top-flight appearances for the club before his departure.

Kane, Sterling, Sancho headline England squad for UEFA Nations League finals

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Harry Kane is fit to play for Tottenham and thus, Gareth Southgate expects him ready to feature for England.

Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho headlined a 23-man England National Team squad for the UEFA Nations League Finals. England will face the Netherlands on June 6, with a second game in either the final or third-place game against Switzerland or Portugal. All the matches will take place in Portugal.

“We have got exciting players and picking a squad is really difficult because we have lots of depth of talent, not only the squad we have picked but the U21s as well,” Southgate said in a statement on the FA’s website. “There’s been some difficult decisions to make and we are obviously a little bit complicated with so many players involved in the Champions League as well but we are really excited by the squad and the players that are around it.”

While Kane, Danny Rose, and Eric Dier all made the squad, Southgate cut Harry Winks and Kieran Trippier from the original 27-man squad he named earlier in May. Southampton midfielders James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond were also cut from the squad, but Southgate will keep them training with the group until the players involved in the Europa League and Champions League finals arrive.

With this squad, Southgate has on-paper a pretty decent team to contest the title.

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Tom Heaton

Defenders: Danny Rose, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Ben Chilwell, Michael Keane

Midfielders: Jesse Lingard, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Fabian Delph, Ross Barkley, Dele Alli,

Forwards: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Callum Wilson

Guardiola defends not starting healthy De Bruyne

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There are a few manners of losing for a manager, and one is when an in-form and up-for-it squad completely overruns yours.

For a managerial wizard like Pep Guardiola, that kind of loss is probably easier to take than Man City’s 1-0 loss to Spurs in Tuesday’s first leg of a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal.

[ MORE: Match recap | Kane hurt | 3 things ]

That’s because Guardiola’s lineups and tactical decisions backfired against a stingy and determined Spurs back line and midfield.

Riyad Mahrez started in place of injured Bernardo and over Leroy Sane . The former Leicester City maestro was poor. Kevin De Bruyne was left out of the XI and Guardiola stubbornly waited until the 89th minute to introduce the Belgian (and Sane).

By that time, with Harry Kane injured and Spurs still finding an opener, the plot was lost.

And with City in a left back injury crisis, Fabian Delph was unable to replicate his left back form of last season, coming in from the cold and looking like it. From The Manchester Evening News:

“I saw him really well in the last few days,” Guardiola said. “After four or five months being injured, two games in four days for Mendy was too much. Bernardo could not play so we played Riyad and he played good especially in the second half when he had someone close to him because in the first half it was not easy for him.”

Guardiola explained the choice to not use De Bruyne, one of the best playmakers in the world, by insisting the player is healthy.

“I decided to play with two holding midfielders in that position, Gundogan and Fernandinho, to be a bit more solid. It’s not the issue. I know it’s tough for him but we have the second leg. We spoke about that. It’s 180 minutes.”

To be fair to Guardiola, a good tactical idea can fail if the players don’t perform well. Maybe Gundogan and Mahrez on their average day meet Aguero converting his penalty and Man City wins 3-1. It’s not like they were completely played out of the stadium.

Guardiola didn’t seem too bothered by the performance, though we have to imagine the room will hear another story. Whether you believe in motivation or momentum or whatever at this stage, there was something about this match that made loose balls and tackles appeal a bit more to Spurs than City. The Tottenham men took their bodies to Man City and the reigning Premier League champions couldn’t adjust to the demands in time to score an away goal.

And like that, Man City is 90 minutes away from looking a lot like Paris Saint-Germain: League monsters — albeit in a better league — that find a way to fail in the latter stages of the one trophy it wants more than the others.