Pep Guardiola

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Guardiola to Leroy Sane: only “happy” players will see the field

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Leroy Sane has been the subject of some uncertainty this summer, and it might be getting to Pep Guardiola.

After Sane came off the bench and helped Man City pummel West Ham 4-1 in the preseason Premier League Asia Trophy, Guardiola was asked about his future with the club after reports this summer that Bayern Munich was interested in snatching him away from the Etihad.

“The club made him an offer last year,” Guardiola said. “So, I have said many times, we only want people happy to be here. We are going to help him to be the best, we know his potential and what level he is. He has a special quality that is difficult to find around the world. He knows, they all know, all the forwards, all the midfielders, how difficult it is to play, it’s difficult because of the quality we have.”

“But, at the same time I spoke to the club ten times and I want people here to be happy, if they don’t want, they go. The desire to have him be with us is always there.”

Sane was spectacular at times last season as Manchester City won the Premier League title, but he played a shrinking role as the end of the campaign pressed on, forced to come off the bench as a substitute four times after February and left as an unused substitute five other times down the stretch as well. Sane played just two full 90 minute appearances in Premier League play in the 2019 calendar year.

With that in mind, it has proven difficult to convince Sane to sign a new contract at Manchester City, with his current deal set to expire in two years. That caught Bayern Munich’s attention, and the German side has been persistent in hoping to attract the 23-year-old to Allianz Arena.

Once Guardiola made his comments about happy players, he was asked bluntly if he thinks Sane will be with the team at the start of the season. He did not want to go into the situation further, saying, “I have already answered that question really well.”

Man City skates by West Ham in Premier League Asia Trophy

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Manchester City’s youth squad did the first-half job, which meant the heavy artillery coming off the bench was that much scarier. Man City came from behind to lead at halftime, and Raheem Sterling scored twice in the second half and the defending Premier League champions were no match for West Ham in a 4-1 victory in the semifinals of the Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing.

Pep Guardiola started a mostly second-choice lineup from the opening whistle, with David Silva and Aymeric Laporte the only true first-teamers in the squad. Claudio Bravo manned the net to begin, with new arrival Rodri also among the starters. West Ham’s lineup, meanwhile, was a strong one with Felipe Anderson, Mark Noble, Angelo Ogbonna, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio, and Manuel Lanzini all among a first-choice starting lineup.

WATCH PL ASIA TROPHY MATCHES LIVE

West Ham took the lead 25 minutes in through Noble who delivered from the penalty spot, but not without help from Felipe who was the star of the first half for the Hammers and won the penalty after sending Manchester City defender Angelino to the ground.

The lead didn’t last long as David Silva leveled things up in the 33rd minute, a wonderful start to his final season at Manchester City. He received a fabulous delivery from 18-year-old Spanish youth international Adrian Bernabe who rifled one to the far post where Silva was waiting, and the 33-year-old chested it down before unpacking a low finish from a tight angle.

City would go in front three minutes later as 20-year-old Man City youth product Lukas Nmecha won a soft penalty on a foul by Ogbonna, and the youngster took it himself and buried the spot-kick for the lead.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane all came on at halftime for the defending Premier League champions, while West Ham brought on the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez, and Andriy Yarmolenko.

The changes for Manchester City overwhelmed West Ham, with Sane picking up a loose ball near the halfway line and feeding a beautiful pass through the back line to Sterling clean on goal who put City 3-1 up on the hour mark. That saw John Stones, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko all come in off the bench for Pep Guardiola and into the fray.

The big three did it again in the 72nd minute as de Bruyne picked Carlos Sanchez’s pocket in the attacking third and fed Sane on the left. He sent it back to de Bruyne who layed it off for Sterling’s second goal of the match.

In squad notes, a pair of England youth internationals went the distance for Man City as Ian Poveda-Ocampo and Taylor Harwood-Bellis were the only two to complete the full 90 minutes. Notable for West Ham, Winston Reid came off the bench for the final 19 minutes, his first game action in over 16 months.

Man City interested in signing Brazil captain Alves

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The manager and player would need no introduction.

Dani Alves is being linked with a return to Manchester City, where the longtime Barcelona star would reunite with Pep Guardiola and make his Premier League debut.

[ MORE: West Ham in for $45M Haller ]

Alves, 36, continues to wow for both club and country, winning the Copa America with Brazil after a season after starring for Paris Saint-Germain.

Globo Esporte claims that Alves wants to stay in Brazil contention into the 2022 World Cup, and that he wants to play for a top European team.

The 115-times capped right back captained Brazil at Copa America and was first capped in 2006. He’s coming off a 3-goal, 8-assist season with PSG in which he played more than 2200 minutes despite missing the first three months of the season after knee surgery.

Man City’s right back corps is Kyle Walker and Danilo, and the latter could easily be sold to make room for Alves.

Man City break transfer record to sign Rodri

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Manchester City have spent a club-record $79 million to buy Rodri from Atletico Madrid.

The Spanish defensive midfielder, 23, has officially arrived at City after Atleti confirmed on Wednesday that the reigning Premier League champions had paid his release clause.

[ MORE: Lampard arrives at Chelsea

Rodri has signed a five-year contract and is the long-term replacement for City’s midfield lynchpin Fernandinho. The former Villarreal star is seen as one of the top holding midfielders in the world, with his exceptional passing, interceptions and tackling ability key to his game.

Speaking about his arrival at City, Rodri is looking forward to working with Pep Guardiola as they go for a PL three-peat.

“What City have achieved in the last two years has been amazing and I’m looking forward to being part of such a talented squad,” Rodri said. “It’s not just the titles they have won, but the way they have managed it, playing attacking football at all times. I can’t wait to start working with Pep Guardiola and my new team-mates and hopefully we can achieve great things together. It’s a style that excites me, as do the Club’s ambitions.”

Rodri only joined Atletico from Villarreal last summer for $25 million, so the La Liga side have done pretty well out of this deal.

City have gone about their business very quietly this summer, and this was a key area they needed to address.

When Fernandinho was out injured last season they badly missed his presence in midfield as the likes of Fabian Delph, Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva struggled to hold down the defensive midfield role.

Rodri’s passing ability is undoubted and the lanky midfielder is very much the heir apparent to Sergio Busquets as the best defensive midfielder around.

With City signing former left back Angelino after his impressive season at PSV Eindhoven, they have already addressed their top two needs in the transfer market. Right back Joao Cancelo could also join from Juventus, as City’s attacking depth is clear for all to see, although Sergio Aguero can’t go on forever and another option up top aside from Gabriel Jesus may be handy.

If Guardiola’s side can add another center back this summer then they should be pretty much set for the new season as they aim to go one better than winning three trophies and complete the quadruple they wanted to badly last season.

Rodri will be a key piece in Guardiola’s jigsaw for many years to come.

Report: Man United’s $90 million Maguire bid rejected

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Manchester United is determined to get their man.

But Harry Maguire‘s current club Leicester City is sticking to their guns, as the man affectionately known as ‘slabhead’ will likely be more expensive than Virgil Van Dijk, the most expensive defender in history.

Multiple outlets report that United have had a $90 million bid for Maguire, 26, rejected by Leicester as the England international is chased by both Manchester clubs this summer.

Maguire’s meteoric rise has seen him become one of the most coveted center backs in Europe, as his marauding runs and calmness on the ball combined with his aerial presence, pace and strength are perfect for a modern day center half.

Leicester bought Maguire from Hull City in the summer of 2017 for $22 million and after his move up the leagues from Sheffield United to Hull to Leicester, it now seems like Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will do battle to sign him this summer.

If Maguire joined either United or City he would be a guaranteed starter, but it is United who need him most. City have Aymeric Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones right now, while United’s stable of center backs includes Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly. Out of United’s options in the heart of their defense, only Lindelof has done himself any favors in recent months.

It is expected that Leicester value Maguire closer to $120 million, to United are still some way off their asking price. That said, a transfer fee of this size would allow Brendan Rodgers to bring in multiple players, as the Foxes look to seal a permanent move for Youri Tielemans in midfield, plus Jamie Vardy isn’t going to go on forever, so an extra attacking option would be handy as they push for European qualification this season.

Maguire is a man in demand and after signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, United aren’t messing around in this transfer window as they aim to add young, hungry players to their squad. Maguire has the respect of his fellow pros and his leadership ability is clear for all to see.

He would set the tone for a new-look United defense and would be a game-changer. At City he would slot in seamlessly with how Guardiola wants his center backs to bring the ball out of the back, but maybe City’s priorities in the transfer market this summer are elsewhere with a right back and holding midfield their main targets.

If Solskjaer can get a deal for Maguire over the line, he would arguably be their most important signing since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. The cavernous voids in United’s defense have been the main reason they’ve struggled so much over the past six seasons.