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Manchester City

Will Manchester City go for PSG’s Serge Aurier after missing out on Dani Alves?

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Manchester City’s chase of veteran Brazilian defender Dani Alves took a shock twist this week French giants Paris-Saint Germain swooped in and secured his signature.

It is understood that the Ligue One side have offered the 34-year-old an astonishing £230,000-per-week deal – which is worth around £12 million-per-year – that caused Alves to snub a Premier League move.

But it is not all doom and gloom as far as Pep Guardiola’s side are concerned, with French outlet L’Equipe now claiming that PSG’s current right-back option Serge Aurier could be allowed to leave.

Would the Ivorian be the right fit for City?

Although the loss of Alves will be a bitter pill to swallow for Guardiola, especially as The Guardian reported last month that an initial agreement was in place, it doesn’t signal the end of the world.

Despite currently enduring a tough time in his career in the French capital Aurier has consistently impressed since announcing himself onto the global scene at the 2014 World Cup for Ivory Coast.

His sharpness and speed down the right flank was effective at both ends of the field, and it is little surprise that PSG wasted no time in securing the services of the 24-year-old on a season-long loan.

His career in France may have tailed off lately due to problems off the field but his talent on the pitch is still there for everyone to see, providing a real threat whenever he rampages into the opposition half, and his intelligence and ability to read the game in defence has made him a well-rounded player.

And there’s a lot more than meets the eye when watching Aurier play, with an ability to play as a conventional full-back and as a marauding wing-back – something Guardiola could be tempted with.

Although Aurier’s contract doesn’t run out for another two years, these fresh reports suggest that PSG would consider offers in the region of £20 million as the arrival of Alves leaves him surplus to requirement.

It’s clear that the signing of Kyle Walker from Tottenham – as per Sky Sports – remains high up on Guardiola’s list of priorities, but with the Champions League on the horizon added strength may be useful.

Serge Aurier to Manchester City
3.5
Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict
With the signing of Alves finalised, and with Belgian right-back Thomas Meunier already preferred in the starting eleven, Aurier’s PSG days look to be numbered. Although it’s likely that the signing of Walker will remain a priority for Guardiola, the Ivorian defender would provide more than adequate back-up and bolster defensive options for next year.

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.

England

Manchester City talent Phil Foden is the missing piece of the jigsaw for England

Phil Foden is the midfielder England need to unpick opposition defences.

Mathew Nash

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It seems football is not yet coming home as England’s World Cup dream ended at the hands of Croatia last night. Despite taking a 1-0 lead the Three Lions could not find the necessary fortitude to win the game after extra-time, with Mario Mandzukic scoring the winner. But there is still great hope for the future and in Phil Foden, Manchester City may hold the key.

One area where England were lacking compared to their opponents was in midfield. Whilst Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard are both dynamic and abrasive and Jordan Henderson neat and tidy they did not have a world-beater in the middle of the park.

Croatia, on the other hand, did. Real Madrid star Luka Modric began to dictate play alongside the Barcelona pendulum Ivan Rakitic. With Marcelo Brozovic, arguably the best midfielder in Serie A post-January, also in midfield England could not get control of the game.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Which is where Foden comes in. The 18-year-old is the player that England were missing. The England under-17 World Champion and BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year from 2017 is the future of England’s midfield.

He won a Premier League winner’s medal last season and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is a huge fan of his.

All the indications are that City will not loan Foden out next term. Instead, they plan to have him as part of the first-team squad.

If Manchester City can nurture his talent correctly then England will have that man in midfield who can create from nothing, find the incisive pass and provide for the players up top.

In four years time, he will be 22 and will have hopefully worked under Pep Guardiola for a number of years. Fitness and first-team football permitting, he could be the missing link that brings it home from Qatar in 2022.

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Germany

Has Leroy Sané been wrongfully dropped from Germany’s World Cup squad?

The 22-year-old will not be featuring in Russia.

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Leroy Sane
Photo: Getty Images

Manchester City winger Leroy Sané has been left out of Germany’s 2018 World Cup squad.

It was today announced that the 22-year-old – who made Joachim Löw’s original 27-man provisional team – did not make the official 23-man tournament squad. This arguably comes as the biggest shock of the squad announcements so far.

Sané made 40 appearances this season in all competitions for City, scoring 14 goals and gaining 19 assists along the way in what was undoubtedly the best season of his career.

His performances and statistics were enough to gain him the Premier League’s ‘Young Player of the Year Award’ for the 2017/18 season, further adding to the surprise of his absence from Löw’s World Cup squad.

Germany’s record in recent tournaments is as unquestionable as the strength and depth they have within their squad. To make the final cut of Löw’s World Cup team is a feat within itself and Sané deserved that accolade this summer.

(Photo by Miguel Medina/Getty Images)

Making the squad at the expense of Sané; Mesut Özil (Arsenal), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Julian Draxler (PSG), Mario Gomez (Stuttgart) and Timo Werner (RB Leipzig).

Sané has similar attributes to these five players which is why it is difficult to comprehend any argument for the City wingers absence.

With the exception of Leipzig’s Werner, all of the above scored fewer goals last season than Sané and, on top of that, every player also had far fewer assists than the City winger, with the next closest to him being Arsenal’s Özil with 12 (seven behind).

In fact, if you add Rudy, Draxler and Gomez’s assists together (13), you’d still have six fewer than Sane’s. Combine all of the major statistics relevant to an attacking midfielder/forward’s role, Sané is ahead of every name on this list.

It obviously isn’t all about the statistics, however, and when you consider the calibre of attacking teammates Sané had to work with this season, it is understandable why his personal statistics are so high.

However, a World Cup squad should be the 23 best men at that time to represent their country.

When you consider the jaw-dropping football Manchester City played in this record breaking Premier League season – and Sané’s significant impact in that – surely it is inconceivable to think that he is not within the best 23 players of his nation.

It is difficult to second guess an international manager with the record of Joachim Löw. However, compile all of the statistical evidence with the eye test and it is difficult to understand how Leroy Sané will not be representing Germany in Russia this month.

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Manchester City

Manuel Pellegrini’s poor China record should give West Ham cause for concern

The Chilean international looks set to join the Hammers.

Max Cohen

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Pellegrini
Photo: Getty Images

As Manuel Pellegrini inches closer to being named West Ham United’s new manager, many have applauded the potential appointment of a Premier League-winning boss.

With spells at some of the world’s most successful clubs, the Chilean is certainly an impressive acquisition for the Hammers.

Yet Pellegrini’s most recent coaching assignment has been nothing short of mediocre, a sign that should slightly worry West Ham supporters.

Pellegrini officially left Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune on Saturday, after just under two years at the club.

The Chilean was appointed in August 2016 and registered an unspectacular record at the club.

Pellegrini’s first season ended with Hebei in fourth position, yet the club missed out on AFC Champions League qualification by one place.

This year, the team has taken a dramatic step back in the opening months of the season.

(Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images)

Under Pellegrini’s management, Hebei China Fortune currently sit eighth out of the 16-team Chinese Super League.

The side has only picked up just 15 points from 11 matches to date, a disappointing return considering Pellegrini has talents such as Ezequiel Lavezzi, Hernanes, and Gervinho at his disposal.

As the Chinese Super League is a far less important and internationally relevant league than La Liga or the Premier League, Pellegrini can perhaps be forgiven for not taking his job as seriously as his past assignments at Malaga, Real Madrid, and Manchester City.

Yet, his Chinese struggles are worrying nonetheless, as ideally West Ham supporters would like to be acquiring the services of a manager who enjoyed success at his most recent club.

In all, the ex-Manchester City manager still has a Premier League title to his name, a fact that makes his recent tough spell in Asia less concerning.

Nevertheless, Manuel Pellegrini’s underwhelming time at Hebei China Fortune reveals that the manager still possesses flaws and should not be expected to work immediate wonders at West Ham.

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