Tag Archives: transfer news

Eric Garcia move to Barcelona ‘uncertain’.

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Only Font was supportive of Tusquets’ proposal to sign Garcia for a total of £7m, with both Laporta and Freixa turning their noses up at the idea.

Barcelona will not move for Manchester City centre-back Eric Garcia in January after the club’s three presidential candidates failed to agree on pursuing the deal.

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Garcia is one of Barça’s top targets and the club are prepared to wait until the summer to sign him on a free transfer once his contract expires, but club officials would like to bring him in a little sooner to help out immediately.

The problem for Barcelona is that all transfer business will be left to the new president, who was initially expected to be decided in elections on January 24. These elections have now been delayed, meaning there will be no permanent president before the closure of the winter transfer window.

According to Marca, acting chief Carles Tusquets met with the three candidates, Victor Font, Joan Laporta and Toni Freixa, to see whether all three would be happy for him to pull the trigger on Garcia now, but the responses did not match up.

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It’s not clear whether they would prefer to wait and sign him for free or whether they are simply against the idea of landing Garcia altogether.

Eric Garcia move from Manchester City to Barcelona not certain as presidential candidates fails to agree. (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

Because the trio could not agree, Tusquets will not be pursuing the defender, and Barcelona are now not expected to make any signings before the delayed elections can be held on March 7.

Manager Ronald Koeman has previously confessed his desire to see the club sign a new striker this month, but said on Saturday: “If it’s not possible to sign players, it’s not possible. We’ll carry on with what we have.”

It’s thought that Barcelona don’t have enough money in the bank to make any real splashes this month, so club officials will instead wait until the summer to pursue their primary targets.

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Alongside Garcia, decisions will have to be made about Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and Lyon forward Memphis Depay, both of whom will also be available on free transfers unless they can agree new deals at their current clubs.

Koeman is keen to bring in all three players and would ideally like them as soon as possible, but he’s going to have to stay patient.

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Manchester City eye best replacement for Fernandinho

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Despite this small blot on his record, Locatelli’s passing has come on leaps and bounds this season and a few years of Guardiola’s tutelage should be enough to get him up to scratch.

After nearly a decade of effortless success, Fernandinho’s Manchester City career is finally drawing to a close.

His contract is set to expire at the end of the campaign and even if he does pen fresh terms, one more season is likely all that City can ask of the 35-year-old.

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Despite his declining involvement, he remains an important member of Pep Guardiola’s squad. His absence in midfield last season was harshly felt and it was telling that he recently started in the Manchester derby.

Replacing Fernandinho is not going to be an easy task. City have already tried it once, bringing in Rodri for over £60m two summers ago, but with the Spaniard looking increasingly like a different sort of player, they may be tempted to dip into the market once again.

Recent reports suggest that they are interested in Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli. Aged just 23, he has already been capped multiple times for Italy – but is he really what the Citizens are looking for? NoRM analysed all the relevant stats to find out.

The profile.

At his peak during the 2017/2018 season, Fernandinho was unquestionably the best defensive midfielder in the world.

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Operating as City’s deepest midfielder in their famous 4-3-3, he balanced the roles of playmaker, destructive ball winner and anchor man to devastating effect.

If City want to return to their peak, discovering a player capable of doing all of this is necessary. Therefore, we are looking for a midfielder who can not only excel defensively but also possesses significant playmaking ability and positional discipline.

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Does Locatelli fit the bill? Let’s take a look…

Passing.

Following in a rich tradition of Italian deep lying playmakers before him, Locatelli’s is a terrific passer of the ball.

Capable of breaking the lines with short and long passes, his playmaking ability has particularly stood out this season. During the 2019/2020 campaign, he averaged a progressive passing distance of 296.7 yards per 90 minutes, ranking him 155th in Serie A.

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This term, his numbers have spiked dramatically. After 17 league games this season, he was averaging over 400 yards per 90, a figure eerily close to what Fernandinho posted during City’s Centurions campaign.

Locatelli makes 50+ yards switches to Sassuolo’s wide men look ludicrously easy and his ability to drill hard, low passes through the opponent’s midfield is also worth a mention. While he prefers to pluck away in deep positions, he is often involved in the final stages of the attack as well, racking up well over two shot creating actions per 90 after 17 league matches this season.

Of course, while Guardiola has somewhat surrendered his obsession for possession this season, playing in midfield for one of he teams will not always consist of Hollywood passes. In order to move the opposition out of shape, the Citizens’ deepest midfielder is often used as a bounce board for recycling possession.

This is an area that Locatelli may require some refinement in. Last season, he successfully received 95.5% of his passes. An impressive stat – until you realise Fernandinho has averaged closer to 98% when playing in midfield during his recent career. It may seem like a marginal difference but being sloppy in possession can have significant knock-on effects for a team like City.

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Defending.

Few players are capable of making defending look as sexy as Locatelli. His sliding tackles, in which he contorts his legs at near impossible angles, are a highlight, though his reading of the game is equally impressive.

After his first 16 Serie A games this season, he was leading the way for tackles + interceptions, registering 71 in total.

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Even more impressive, especially for a centre-midfielder, is that he tackled 50% of the dribblers that unwisely choose to take him on during this period. Locatelli also featured in the top ten for blocks at the end of gameweek 17.

Like with his progressive passing stats, his defending has dramatically improved this season, providing further evidence of his exciting potential.

If he comes close to matching the same level of performance for the rest of the campaign, Locatelli will not only match Fernadinho’s 2017/2018 numbers, he will easily surpass them.

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The only area in which there might be a few question marks is his defensive discipline. At times Locatelli plays like, well, a 23-year-old out to prove himself, storming into advanced positions to try and inspire his team to victory.

The fact that he is far better than the majority of his teammates partly explains this, however, to fill Fernandinho’s shoes he will need to be develop increased defensive discipline.

What else can Locatelli bring Manchester City?
Manuel Locatelli
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While it may not suit him well to an anchor man role, one of Locatelli’s other strengths is driving forward using his pace and strength.

Not only is he strong physically, he also possesses a wide array of flicks and feints, as well as lightning fast feet, which allows him to evade opposition midfielders in close quarters. This box of tricks makes him a real handful for the opposition and it little surprise that only three out-and-out midfielders had carried the ball for more yards progressive yards than him after 17 Serie A games.

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He has also displayed an appetite for an eye-catching goal during his career so far, most notably when he fired an unstoppable effort past Gianluigi Buffon aged just 18.

These two traits suggest that, as well as being well primed to step into the void left by Fernandinho, Locatelli may also excel in a more advanced role at the Etihad Stadium. This makes snapping him for a reported £30m a complete no brainer for Guardiola’s side.

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Bayer confirms signing of United’s T. Fosu-Mensah

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The player himself has signed a three-year deal in Germany until 2024.

Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah has completed his transfer to Bayer Leverkusen after passing a routine medical with the Bundesliga side.

The move brings Fosu-Mensah’s time as a United player to an end after nearly seven years, having first joined the club’s academy from Ajax at the age of 16. He played 30 times for the first-team and had loan spells at Crystal Palace and Fulham, the latter of which was wrecked by injury.

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Fosu-Mensah recently rejected a new contract at Old Trafford, ensuring he would have become a free agent and been released in the summer.

Instead, United have opted to sell him this month and will pocket a £1.5m fee that has been agreed with Leverkusen.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

In a club statement, Manchester United said: “Manchester United defender Tim Fosu-Mensah has completed a permanent move to Bayer Leverkusen for an undisclosed fee.

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“The 23-year-old will embark on a fresh chapter of his career in the Bundesliga after agreeing terms and passing his medical with the team currently sitting in third place in the German top flight.

“In total, the versatile defender made 30 appearances for United, and everybody at the club would like to wish him the very best of luck with his future career.”

After recovering from the knee injury he suffered on loan at Fulham, Fosu-Mensah made his first United appearance in more than three years when he started against previous loan club Palace in the Premier League during ‘Project Restart’.

He played in each of the final three league games of the season, was utilised in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley and twice during the delayed conclusion to the Europa League campaign.

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Fosu-Mensah even started United’s Premier League opener this season in place of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was unavailable following a summer trip to Dubai, but his only further appearances since then have been as a substitute in two Champions League defeats.

United are generally keen to continue stripping deadwood from the squad. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed last week that the club expects Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo to each find a new team, while Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard also remain linked with moves away.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic confirms return to AC Milan by free transfer.


AC Milan have confirmed the signing of Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, who was available on a free transfer after leaving Los Angeles Galaxy.

The 38-year-old let his contract with the Major League Soccer side expire to pursue a return to Europe, and has joined Milan for the rest of the season with an option for on


“I am returning to a club that I respect enormously and to a city that I love,” said the striker. “I will fight with my teammates to change the course of this season and I will do everything to achieve our goals.”

Milan fought off competition from several different sides, including Serie A rivals Napoli and Bologna, while there were even links to both Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, but those rumours have now been put to bed.

For Ibrahimović, he is now set for a third spell at San Siro and a second with Milan. He initially joined the club back in 2010 on loan from Barcelona, before sealing a permanent switch the following summer.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic
He left for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, having racked up an impressive 56 goals and 24 assists from his 85 games with I Rossoneri.

Ibrahimović won the Serie A title in the 2010/11 campaign, but he now joins a Milan side who are struggling in the middle of the table.

Scoring goals has been a major problem for Stefano Pioli’s side this year. Having managed just 16 goals all year, they have fallen to 11th in the standings and are well behind in the race for European qualification.


Stefano Pioli
Krzysztof Piątek and Rafael Leão have managed just five goals between them, while left-back Theo Hernández is their joint-top scorer with four.

The hope is that Ibrahimović, who bagged 31 goals in as many games for LA Galaxy last season, will be able to fire Milan back up the league table and salvage something from this otherwise disappointing campaign


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