Joao Cancelo

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Manchester City handles pesky Dinamo Zagreb

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Dominant Manchester City had to work for its Raheem Sterling-finished breakthrough in a 2-0 defeat of Dinamo Zagreb in UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sterling scored and assisted Phil Foden‘s stoppage time goal, as City took 1,025 touches to the visitors’ 392. Dinamo Zagreb completed just 53 percent of their passes, were out shot 20-2, and had just 19 percent possession.

City now has six points, and has beaten both of the teams in the group who boast wins. A pair of matches with winless Atalanta are next.


Three things we learned

1. Zagreb frustrates with five (plus) at the back: City had more than 80 percent of the ball and almost all of the shot attempts, but the persistent and well-drilled visitors proved difficult to break down.

2. Rodri and Gundogan rule the roost: While Man City’s forwards to their time to find footing, Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan were very strong in the midfield. Gundogan completed 113 of his 120 passes, while Rodri converted 116 of 126 passes (92 percent) including a sensational “hockey assist” on Sterling’s opener.

Again, let’s do the math: 229 completed passes between two midfielders. Outstanding.

3. Super sub Sterling supplies breakthrough: The winner was very much a team goal, as Sterling had been in the game for less than 10 minutes when he took a pass from Riyad Mahrez to make it 1-0.

And to combine points Nos. 2 and 3, how about that scything pass from Rodri

Man of the Match: Rodri — He looks the absolute correct piece for City’s midfield puzzle (which was already pretty darn good).


Gundogan cranked a shot off the woodwork, and City later had a goal taken off the board due to Sergio Aguero handling in the build-up.

Dinamo goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic made two first half saves including a very promising opportunity for Aguero.

The frustrations of only producing a single goal despite myriad chances got to Pep Guardiola, who was shown a yellow card for dissent.

Joao Cancelo was a particularly bright spot for City, whipping in crosses and zipping about the right side.

Sterling’s goal came when Rodri fed Mahrez, a relative bright spot, into the left of the box. A cut back was blasted home by the England winger.

Foden subbed into the game and scored inside of the four minutes stoppage time.

Top 15 deals from Premier League transfer window

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Deals? Yeah, friends, there were a lot of deals.

The Premier League’s summer transfer window closed on Thursday, but not until a wide array of deals came through the door.

More than half of the Premier League’s teams broke transfer records in 2019. Half! Arsenal, Brighton, Newcastle, Watford, Spurs, West Ham, Wolves, Leicester City, and Aston Villa.

[ MORE: Complete list of PL transfers ]

But what were the best ones, at least in our opinions? Let’s tick some people off.

First off, we’re going to exclude two signings because they were loan deals sorted into permanent moves. Leicester City’s addition of Youri Tielemans would’ve just edged Wolves’ buy of Raul Jimenez.

15. Aaron Mooy, Brighton and Hove Albion (loan) — A workhorse for the center of the park who may just sort out the Seagulls attacking players.

14. Phil Jagielka, Sheffield United — Coming home with a wealth of Premier League knowledge is a nice nod.

13. Tom Heaton, Aston Villa — As good as the Villans may be for a promoted team, they’ll need a veteran boss between the sticks and Heaton fits the bill.

12. Danny Drinkwater, Burnley (loan) — Sean Dyche‘s men are going to be up against it this year, and Drinkwater has a chance to reclaim his England momentum.

11. Moise Kean, Everton — The chance that Kean is Everton’s striker for the next 3-5 years just moves him ahead of the Alex Iwobi purchase.

10. Giovani Lo Celso, Tottenham Hotspur (loan) — Lo Celso isn’t just a potential star; He gives Spurs valuable depth in all competitions.

9. Sebastien Haller, West Ham United — Possibly the answer to West Ham’s long search for a center piece center forward.

8. Joelinton, Newcastle United — A major statement from the beleaguered owner of a downtrodden former power.

(Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

7. Ismaila Sarr, Watford — The sort of attacker who can take a team from midtable to a Top Six discussion.

6. Rodri, Man City — A monumental need met on the hopeful path to a 3-peat.

5. Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal — The number of players involved in more Ligue 1 goals last season? Just one. Kylian Mbappe.

4. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Manchester United — Not just the answer for a short-term question, but possibly the club’s next anchor right back.

3. Tanguy Ndombele, Tottenham Hotspur — Should give Spurs a reliable answer to its center of the park question.

2. Harry Maguire, Manchester United — The cost was outrageous, but United needed to make this move a full year earlier (though perhaps that would’ve saved Jose Mourinho).

  1. Joao Cancelo, Man City — This may seem nuts. But you’ll see.

Man City unveils Cancelo after Danilo swap

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Manchester City met Juventus’ asking price for dynamic right back Joao Cancelo by including a player it didn’t really want anymore.

Danilo and $35 million are heading to Turin in exchange for the 25-year-old right back Cancelo, who has consistently produced the top Serie A seasons at his position.

[ MORE: Manchester City season preview ]

Cancelo’s was the 15th ranked player in Serie A last season according to WhoScored, and is a stunning dribbler.

He doesn’t have the defensive stats of Kyle Walker, but his passing is significantly better. That’s not a huge surprise considering he’s played plenty of right midfield.

He’ll wear No. 27 for Pep Guardiola‘s men.

As a side note, I like the idea of Guardiola getting something out of Kyle Walker as a center back at least a few matches out of the year. Just saying.

Man City reportedly gets Cancelo for head-scratching cost

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Despite what Morrissey’s sung about Manchester, it seems one of its football clubs just cannot get out of the sun shine and clear skies.

Take the latest rumored deal involving Manchester City, which involves Juventus dynamo Joao Cancelo arriving at the Etihad Stadium to fix what is one of the only questions on the road to a third-straight Premier League crown: full back depth.

[ MORE: Manchester City season preview ]

What will Juve take back? About $35 million and Danilo.

I bet Pep Guardiola demanded Juve stay on the line while he flew to the continent to make sure he was speaking to a representative of the club.

Now $35 million would make many of us retire. And I’m not dressing down Danilo, who’s a Brazilian international and an okay left back in his own right, but this is Joao Cancelo. Chelsea was going to pay about the same for him two summers ago — sans Danilo of course — and that was when Kyle Walker was costing almost double that fee.

While the 25-year-old Cancelo has missed a month in each of the last two seasons with knee injuries and that’s no small issue, he’s been among the best right backs in the world for all but one season of his career (and even that one, for Valencia, was still above average).

Look: Danilo will have much more stylistic success in Serie A than in the Premier League, and Cancelo may take some time to adjust to England. But this move is just a no-brainer, and we wonder how Juventus couldn’t get more out of mighty Man City.

Transfer rumor roundup: City’s Sane demands; Spurs’ backup plan

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A roundup of Thursday’s biggest transfer rumors from around the world, including those involving a few Premier League clubs…

[ MORE: Arsenal sign winger Nicolas Pepe for $87 million ]

Bayern Munich’s pursuit of Leroy Sane has been unrelenting this summer, but Manchester City’s demands are high — sky high — and that might just be the deterrent required to keep hold of the 23-year-old. According to the Telegraph, Man City have put a $166-million price tag on the German winger. It might be time for Bayern to begin looking at backup options.


Bruno Fernandes has been one of the most frequently linked players to Manchester United, but a move is yet to materialize this summer and now Tottenham Hotspur might be sneaking through the backdoor and making their play for the 24-year-old Portuguese midfielder. Tottenham’s pursuit of Giovani Lo Celso is yet to land the Argentine at White Hart Lane, thus Daniel Levy is apparently moving to a backup plan of his own. Spurs reportedly made a bid of $63 million, but Sporting CP are said to be holding out for the Fernandes’ full $107-million release clause.


Man City’s pursuit of a new starting right back is ongoing, with Juventus’ Joao Cancelo still the no. 1 choice. According to the Guardian, City are willing to include Danilo as a makeweight in the exchange.


And finally, today’s Harry Maguire update: he has been left out of Leicester’s squad for a friendly against Atalanta, but Manchester United’s current bid still stands about $12 million short of what Leicester would like.