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Manchester City round-up: Laurent Koscielny on radar; Joe Hart open to rivals switch; Middlesbrough draw reaction

Laurent Koscielny Manchester City

Manchester City

Manchester City round-up: Laurent Koscielny on radar; Joe Hart open to rivals switch; Middlesbrough draw reaction

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is reportedly interested in bringing in Arsenal and France defender Laurent Koscielny over the summer as part of his defensive reshuffle.

According to French Television show TelefootLigue One side Marseille are willing to go head to head with the Premier League side to sign the centre-back.

The 31-year-old has made over 300 appearances since arriving at Arsenal from Lorient in 2010, winning two FA Cups, but it’s believed he could be tempted into leaving over the next few months.

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Koscielny has been a stand-out figure in a disappointing season at the Emirates, with the Gunners potentially set to miss out on Champions League football for the first time in Premier League history.

The Sun have claimed that out-of-favour goalkeeper Joe Hart, who returns from a season-long loan at Italian side Torino next month, could be allowed to move to rivals Manchester United this summer.

The England number one was forced out of the Etihad during Pep Guardiola’s first summer in charge after falling out with the City manager, and it’s believed he has no future at the Citizens upon return.

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Reports suggest that Guardiola would allow Hart to go to United if Jose Mourinho made an offer in the region of £30 million, beating off other reported interest from Chelsea, Everton and Liverpool.

Hart could be a potential replacement for David de Gea, with his future beyond the end of the season still up in the air amidst renewed interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola has admitted that the race for the top four is likely to go down to the wire after his side came from behind twice to salvage a point against relegation battlers Middlesbrough.

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus cancelled out efforts from ex-City man Alvaro Negredo and Calum Chambers in an enthralling encounter in the North-East on Sunday.

Speaking in his post-match interview to BBC Sport, Guardiola said:

“The second half was better than the first one – we had problems trying to control their counter-attacks and we couldn’t settle.

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“It was tough as Middlesbrough are playing to stay in the league but we dropped another chance to take advantage. It will be tight until the last game because Manchester and Arsenal will be there.”

City’s blushes were spared at the Riverside Stadium by Gabriel Jesus’ late headed goal, marking his first start after returning from the fractured metatarsal that he suffered almost three months ago.

“Gabriel Jesus was out for three months and made only four training sessions, but he’s 20 so he could stay on the pitch for 90 minutes and he found himself well.”

Despite failing to capitalise on their top four rivals’ slip-ups on Sunday, Guardiola’s side still sit in fourth place – level on points with Liverpool – and one ahead of Manchester United in fifth place.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Chao 1989.

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.

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