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Manchester City

Manchester City round-up: Juventus full-back targeted; Walker deal closes in; £45m Barcelona star linked

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Ivan Rakitic Manchester City

According to reports coming from The Guardian on Saturday evening, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is allegedly closing in on a surprise reunion with Juventus defender Dani Alves next season.

Fresh reports claim that Guardiola – who had a spell managing Alves at Barcelona – is keen on bringing his ‘winning mentality’ to the Manchester City dressing room ahead of the new campaign.

And it is thought that representatives from the Etihad have already approached the Serie A side – who are willing to listen to offers – ahead of a £5million summer switch over to the Premier League.

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The 34-year-old full-back only has a year left on his current contract at the Italian side and, with no recognised right-back at City after letting Pablo Zabaleta leave, they seem set to secure the Brazilian.

The ex-Barcelona duo won six La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies during their time together at the Nou Camp and it’s believed that this previous link could help persuade Alves to City.

Meanwhile, The Sun have claimed that the Citizens could be poised to add a second right-back to their ranks after a move for Tottenham’s Kyle Walker has started to take shape.

Reports from The Sun earlier in the week had claimed that Guardiola is readying a £40million bid over the upcoming weeks to tempt him away from White Hart Lane, and this is believed to be in motion.

The potential additions of both Alves and Walker would fill the void in the Manchester City back-line left after Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Jesus Navas were all released from the club.

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Despite having an exceptional season at Tottenham and making it into the PFA team of the year, a fall-out with Mauricio Pochettino – as reported by the Independent – has seen him seeking a brisk exit.

The Sunday Express claim that there could yet be a complication in a move to Manchester City, though, with German giants Bayern Munich rumoured to be preparing a £45 million bid for Walker.

Lastly, reports coming from Spain have suggested that Manchester City are primed to rival both Bayern Munich and Manchester United to secure the signing of Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Mundo Deportivo believe that the 29-year-old could be allowed to leave the Spanish giants should a suitable offer – supposedly in the region of £45 million – be made.

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The report suggests that Barcelona would rather keep the Croatian after a highly-influential three-year spell at the club but they could be forced into letting him go to raise funds for Paris-Saint Germain midfielder Marco Veratti – who Sport believe is keen for a move to the Catalan side.

Rakitic made 58 appearances across all competitions last season as Barcelona fell short both domestically and in Europe, scoring 12 times and assisting five.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Ai Kagou.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Bournemouth

Fantasy Premier League: Five players to sign for matchweek two

There is plenty of names to swoop for ahead of the weekend’s fixtures.

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Fantasy Premier League returned with a bang last weekend, with a number of high-scorers handing plenty of players a solid start to the new campaign.

Popular players Sadio Mane, Richarlison and Aaron Wan-Bissaka all rewarded those who selected them on the opening weekend, each earning 12+ points, while Watford duo Roberto Pereyra (5.2%) and Jose Holebas (5.1%) also caught the eye and secured huge points for the few that opted for the Hornets pair.

Ahead of matchweek two in the Premier League, we have searched the databases for five players you should definitely look to pick up to provide your team with a boost.

Bernardo Silva: Manchester City

The news of Kevin De Bruyne’s knee injury has sent shockwaves across FPL, with 16.8% of players still having the Belgium international in their squad. If you fall into that category, you should definitely look at dropping the midfielder.

(Photo by James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images)

Bernardo Silva is the most likely candidate to step up for the Citizens in De Bruyne’s absence and he enters this weekend’s clash with Huddersfield Town in decent form, scoring the second goal in last week’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal.

Huddersfield conceded 58 goals last season, more than relegated pair West Brom and Swansea City, so Silva can be expected to add to his eight-point haul against the Terriers – especially as he has scored five goals in his last seven starts.

Ryan Fraser: Bournemouth

Scorer of the opening goal for Bournemouth in last weekend’s victory over Cardiff City, Ryan Fraser brought home 11 points for the few managers who had the midfielder in their side – and just 2.3% of managers have the 24-year-old in their squad.

Costing £5.5m, Fraser is perhaps a more expensive option to other creative players at lower-end Premier League sides to consider but he certainly has the form to make his outlay worthwhile – as he has been directly involved in six goals in his last six matches at the Vitality Stadium (four goals, two assists).

The Cherries are away from home this weekend against a West Ham side that were torn about by Liverpool on the opening weekend and Fraser could hold the key to breaking down Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

Ben Mee: Burnley

While the rest of the Premier League prepares for their second match, Burnley are well into their stride as Europa League qualifiers mean that Sean Dyche’s side have already played five matches this season – and they are in superb form.

The Clarets have now registered three consecutive clean sheets across all competitions following Thursday night’s 1-0 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir, although extra time could have taken some wind out of Burnley’s sails.

Hosting Watford this weekend, Ben Mee and the Burnley defence will face a stern test but history favours the hosts – who have not lost to the Hornets at Turf Moor since 2004, securing three clean sheets in the last three meetings in Lancashire.

Roberto Pereyra: Watford

Selected by 5.2% of managers heading into matchweek two, many may believe that Roberto Pereyra’s 16 point haul last weekend was just a freak occurrence after the 2-0 win over Brighton but the stats suggest that is not the case.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Pereyra has now hit four goals in his last five Premier League games at Vicarage Road and now faces the challenge of transferring that form into away matches – and a game against a tired Burnley side who played 120 minutes in midweek is the ideal opportunity for him to shine.

Watford need to build upon last weekend’s win as they have a tough run of fixtures coming up against Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal, with Pereyra’s attacking flair potentially providing the key to breaking down a resilient Burnley defence.

Neil Etheridge: Cardiff City

In last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth, Neil Etheridge became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty on his Premier League debut since Allan McGregor in 2013 by denying Callum Wilson from the spot – earning six points in the process.

The Welsh side are back at home this weekend against a Newcastle United outfit who continue to suffer under the tyranny of Mike Ashley. Defeat last weekend against Spurs was not surprising but has raised the pressure for Rafael Benitez’s side.

28-year-old Etheridge is a good bet to pick up further points this weekend against a Magpies side that scored just 39 goals in 38 matches last term, the lowest tally of any top-ten side excluding Burnley.

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Burnley

Three reasons Burnley’s signing of Joe Hart is fantastic business

The England international joins the Clarets for a very respectable fee.

Max Cohen

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Joe Hart
Photo: Getty Images

Burnley completed the signing of former Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart on Tuesday for a reported £3.5 million.

Here are three reasons why the transfer represents fantastic business for the Clarets, as Burnley will now retain the services of three full England international goalkeepers.

The ex-Manchester City man is a fantastic option amid Burnley’s goalkeeping crisis

Sean Dyche was faced with a pressing goalkeeping crisis after Nick Pope suffered a dislocated shoulder against Aberdeen, with Tom Heaton still recovering from a calf injury. With a severe lack of quality goalkeeping options, Dyche pulled off a fantastic deal by securing the services of Joe Hart for just £3.5 million.

Although the Englishman is coming off a disappointing season with West Ham, to capture such an experienced goalkeeper for a cut-price fee is a laudable feat in today’s transfer market. Even if Hart is second or third choice for most of the season, he is a more than capable stand-in for Pope and Heaton in the coming weeks.

(Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Man City via Getty Images)

Joe Hart will provide priceless mentorship to his fellow England internationals 

With Tom Heaton and Nick Pope already on the books at Turf Moor, the addition of Hart has created a skilled goalkeeping trio at the club. Hart has made 75 Three Lions caps, with Heaton having made three appearances and Pope featuring one time for his country.

The immense experience of Hart will be incredibly useful for his fellow goalkeepers, and Hart can play the role of mentor for both Heaton and Pope. Although Heaton is in fact older than Hart, the ex-City player has nevertheless featured at a higher level than Heaton and can still provide valuable insight.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Eager to get his career back on track, Hart can thrive under Dyche

Joe Hart has endured a tough past two seasons at Manchester City, exiled by Pep Guardiola and shipped out on loan to Torino and West Ham.

Yet, now Hart finally has a permanent home for the next two years, at a minimum, and can get down to business under Sean Dyche and make his case for a starting role.

Under the tough and firm leadership of the Burnley boss, Hart can hopefully regain his confidence and return to his top form when given a chance at Turf Moor.

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Celtic

Who is Daniel Arzani, Celtic’s imminent loan signing?

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Photo: Getty Images.

Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Celtic are close to sealing a loan signing from Manchester City in the form of 19-year-old Daniel Arzani, though the Australian is yet to officially sign for the Premier League club from Melbourne City.

Sky Sports say that a deal could be tied up imminently as Rodgers admitted the news after opening their Scottish Premier League campaign with a 3-1 win over Livingston.

“He is, I believe, finalising his deal with Manchester City and in talks with ourselves to come in, as a possibility. He is another exciting young talent and we will see if we can get that organised in the next few days. It is not going to be (before) midweek. He has just flown in, he hasn’t trained. He has obviously been at the World Cup so he will need to be in for a couple of weeks before he gets up to speed.”

Brendan Rodgers revealed that a deal is close.

Where does he play?

Arzani can play on either flank, though he does tend to prefer the left side. His versatility will be crucial for Rodgers and Celtic and provide an exciting new option within the squad.

 

What’s his style of play?

An exciting, traditional winger, Arzani loves to bomb forward down the flank with pace and flare. At times, he can drift inside and look to threaten, but on the whole he looks to create opportunities from out wide.

What experience does he have?

Not a lot, but despite having only played 24 games at first team level, Arzani can boast five international caps for Australia including three at the World Cup as he was used as a substitute in all three of his nation’s matches. With two goals for his club and one for his country, alongside three assists at club level, he is not prolific but does present a threat.

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