IN FOR THE KYL
Saturday’s win over Tottenham – read 16 Conclusions – has Manchester City on the brink of the Premier League title. Victory over Swansea next Sunday, or Manchester United losing either of their next two games, would give them their third title in seven years.
And so they are obviously intent on signing more players this summer. The Sunday Mirror bring us the exclusive that the club are monitoring the situation with regards to Kylian Mbappe.
PSG loaned the forward for a season from Monaco last summer, with an obligation to buy if certain clauses were triggered. PSG’s successful battle against relegation means they must buy the Frenchman for £167m at the end of this season.
But, like the rest of us, the Ligue Un side appeared to have forgotten that Financial Fair Play is still a thing. They could face ‘huge fines’ and even a Champions League ban for breaching the regulations, and so may be put under ‘pressure’ to sell their best players.
Neymar might be the obvious answer here, but the Mirror are confident that Mbappe could be the man flogged off to generate funds. It seems unlikely.
A footnote in that story is that City are still interested in signing Eden Hazard. They tried for the Chelsea forward in January, but to no avail.
Hazard is yet to extend his contract at Chelsea however, and thus the still-reigning Premier League champions could look to ‘cash in’. City ‘would be willing’ to pay £150m.
The runaway leaders are also looking to ‘revamp’ their midfield. David Silva, Fernandinho and Yaya Toure are all now in their 30s, which puts an awful lot of pressure on Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan. So why not spend £50m to solve that problem?
Pep Guardiola will do just that. The Spaniard wants to go for ‘quality, not quantity’ this summer, and few have more quality than Thiago Alcantara in central midfield. The Bayern Munich man is seen as a ‘natural replacement’ for Toure, and the manager is clearly a fan: Guardiola signed him for Bayern Munich in 2013.
The story adds that City are likely to need more homegrown players next season. The maximum number of overseas players is 17, and City already have 14. Leroy Sane and Oleksandr Zinchenko will boost those numbers to 16 as they are no longer underage, while Eliaquim Mangala is also still on their books.
As a result, Wilfried Zaha is ‘being monitored to see if he has the mentality and match intelligence to succeed at a top club’.
So that’s striker, midfielder and possible winger. How about a new defender?
City are said to be the new ‘favourites’ to sign Matthijs de Ligt. Arsenal have long held an interest in the Dutchman, dubbed ‘the next Virgil van Dijk’. But the £50m valuation on the 18-year-old’s head is likely to put them off.
The same cannot be said for City. Arsenal and Bayern Munich are ‘baulking at his valuation’, but City are unlikely to be restricted by the same financial constraints.
Time for some maths. Mbappe or Hazard (£150m) + Thiago (£50m) + De Ligt (£50m), as well as a possible move for Zaha (£50m), makes around £300m. Being champions sure is difficult.
AND THE REST
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is on a four-man short list as Antonio Conte’s replacement at Chelsea, where he managed the youth and reserve teams… Chelsea are interested in Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, 29. Real Madrid are also considering bringing the Pole to the club… Manchester United are considering a summer move for Leicester City’s 25-year-old England defender Harry Maguire… United could challenge rivals City for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian midfielder Fred, 25… United boss Jose Mourinho is also interested in Celtic’s 20-year-old Scotland defender Kieran Tierney.