Manchester City are keen to offer young centre-back Eric Garcia a new contract amid transfer interest from former club Barcelona.
19-year-old Garcia, who joined City from Barça’s famed La Masia youth academy in 2017, made his Premier League debut this season and featured in 19 games in all competitions in 2019/20.
After an impressive breakthrough campaign, Barcelona have been linked with a move to re-sign their former starlet, whose contract expires in 2022.
While there is talk that Garcia could be keen to re-join his old club, especially if Pep Guardiola does not renew his contract in Manchester, Goal say City are determined to tie the teenage defender – seen as a possible successor to Gerard Pique by Barcelona – to a new long-term deal.
Meanwhile, Catalan publication Sport claim Man City will negotiate for Garcia but are insisting on including versatile star Sergio Roberto as part of a part-exchange deal.
For their part, it is said that Barça would rather let full back Nelson Semedo leave the club.
Sport assert that City’s interest in Roberto goes back to the beginning of the year, before transfer plans were brought to a halt by the coronavirus crisis.
The report adds that the two clubs have been negotiating potential swap deals for a number of players over recent months. Barcelona – who have already completed a complicated swap-deal of sorts this summer with Miralem Pjanic joining from Juventus – initially offered Nelson Semedo to City, as part of a deal with Joao Cancelo going the other way.
City’s supposed preferred swap player, Roberto, has been an important utility player for Barcelona in recent years, playing both at right-back and central midfield.
The 28-year-old has spent his entire career at Camp Nou, making 388 career appearances for the club and famously scored the decisive goal in Barcelona’s 6-1 Champions League comeback win over Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.
Barcelona star Samuel Umtiti is unwilling to leave Camp Nou this summer and wants to fight for his place in the team, despite the Frenchman supposedly being offered to other clubs in the transfer window.
The 26-year-old was once an integral part of the Blaugrana defence, but a string of injuries over the past two years have seen his value diminish. He has subsequently lost his place in the first team to national compatriot Clement Lenglet.
Barça are looking to significantly reduce their wage bill in the coming weeks, and the Catalan giants believe the dispensable Umtiti is likely to command a hefty transfer fee. But the player is not so keen on the idea of leaving Spain.
According to Sport, the Barça centre-back is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Umtiti is determined to overcome his injuries woes and fight for his place in the starting lineup, as he is content with his current life in Catalonia.
In fact, the former Lyon defender has even begun a number of personal projects in Barcelona, believing that he would remain in Spain for the remainder of his career.
For Barça however, their aspirations of improving the club’s finances have left them in a tight spot, and cashing in on Umtiti is a priority for the board. The former Spanish champions would even consider sending the World Cup winner out on loan next season, if the receiving side would be prepared to pay the entirety of his wages.
The relationship between player and club has become strained over time due to his constant fitness struggles, and his latest knee injury was the final straw, after he went against the club’s medical advice.
La Blaugrana are also targeting Manchester City defender Eric Garcia as a possible replacement for the Frenchman, as well as retaining the services of Uruguayan youngster Ronald Araujo to complete their backline options.
This news comes as a blow to plenty of interested parties around Europe, and particularly in the Premier League. Everton and West Ham have both been linked with a move for Umtiti thus far, while the defender’s profile and experience will be tempting for many top tier sides – should he remain fit.
Arsenal take on Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday afternoon – a competition in which both of the two competing clubs and managers have a proud history.
Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard both enjoyed considerable success in the FA Cup as players, with the former tasting victory at Wembley on two occasions, and the latter hoisting the famous trophy aloft four times.
With victory on Saturday, one of Arteta or Lampard will join a select group of individuals who have won the same trophy as both a player and a manager. Let’s take a look at the current members of this elite club.
Sir Alf is probably better known for that thing he won with England back in 1966, but he enjoyed a stellar club managerial career before landing the top job in 1963.
Ramsey spent his playing days with Southampton and Tottenham, winning the First Division with the latter in 1950/51.
It’s no secret that the most successful England managers are bred at Ipswich Town, and that’s where Ramsey started his career in the dugout. He led the Tractor Boys from the third tier to a remarkable First Division title in 1961/62 before going on to win the World Cup with England. History looks sure to repeat itself at Portman Road with Paul Lambert in 2020/21.
As all-time greats go, they don’t come much bigger than Bob Paisley on Merseyside.
Paisley played over 250 times for Liverpool, and hung up his boots with one First Division title during the 1946/47 season to show for his playing career.
He went five better as a manager. Paisley guided the Reds to six league titles between 1976 and 1983, as Liverpool dominated English football.
As a manager, he also lifted the European Cup three times and bagged a UEFA Cup. Greedy.
There are 33 years between Kenny Dalglish’s first domestic triumph in England – the First Division title in 1978/79 – and his last – the League Cup in 2012.
King Kenny won the lot with Liverpool as a player: five First Division titles, four League Cups, three European Cups and the FA Cup.
Dalglish won the first Division a further three times as a manager with the Reds – and once with Blackburn after the top flight had transformed into the Premier League – and he guided Liverpool to FA Cup glory twice. The Anfield icon was parachuted in once more in 2011, beating Cardiff on penalties in the 2012 League Cup final for his final honour with the club.
He also enjoyed success back in his native Scotland as both a player and manager, despite only being in temporary charge of Celtic for four months. Dalgish won the Scottish League Cup in 1975, and then again as a manager in 2000.
Those just across Stanley Park have also enjoyed their fair share of success, with Howard Kendall the mastermind behind the most fruitful period in Everton’s history.
The midfielder won the First Division with the Toffees in 1969/70. He took the Goodison Park hot seat in 1981 initially as a player-manager – but only mustered four games as a player before formally hanging up his boots.
Kendall would go on to enjoy greater success in the dugout than he had on the pitch, winning the First Division title twice in the space of three seasons between 1985 and 1987.
George Graham remains the last person to have won the league title in England as a player and manager.
Graham’s first piece of silverware came as a player with Chelsea, as he lifted the League Cup in 1965, before winning the league and cup double with Arsenal in 1971.
He won every domestic trophy as manager of Arsenal in the 80s and 90s, including the famous league title triumph over Liverpool on the final day of the 1988/89 season.
Imagine being Johan Cruyff. Imagine being one of the most gifted, artistic, graceful footballers of your generation and winning the lot… and then doing it all over again as a manager.
The Dutch icon’s glittering career was bookended with spells in his native Holland – beginning with Ajax, before ending with Ajax again and finally Feyenoord. He was part of the glorious Ajax side that won three consecutive European Cups, and he lifted Holland’s domestic cup – the KNVB Cup – on five occasions with his boyhood club, and once with Feyernoord.
Sandwiched in between his success in his homeland was a five-year spell at Barcelona, where Cruyff won La Liga in 1973/74, and the Copa del Rey in 1978.
He returned to both Ajax and Barcelona as a manager, winning the KNVB Cup twice with the former. Although he never guided Ajax to league success as a manager, he made up for this in Spain, winning four La Liga titles, in addition to the Copa del Rey in 1990 and the European Cup in 1992. Not a bad career’s work.
On any list, the natural successor to Johan Cruyff is of course Neil Lennon.
Lennon didn’t play in Scotland until he was 29, but he has gone on to win 20 domestic honours there as a player and manager.
The Northern Irishman won five Scottish Premier League titles, four Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups with Celtic between 2000 and 2007.
Lennon has had two separate spells in the Celtic Park dugout, adding a further five Scottish titles to his trophy cabinet, in addition to three Scottish Cups, and the League Cup in 2019/20.
Lampard will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Roberto Di Matteo on Saturday – the last Chelsea man to win the FA Cup as both a player and manager.
Di Matteo scored after just 42 seconds with an absolute belter as Chelsea beat Middlesbrough in the 1997 FA Cup final, and won the same competition three years later with the Blues.
The Italian guided Chelsea to FA Cup glory during his ridiculously successful spell as caretaker manager at Stamford Bridge, with his 2012 FA Cup victory slightly overshadowed by the small matter of their Champions League win.
Conte spent 13 glittering years as a player with Juventus, and after he began his managerial career it was always anticipated that he would return to lead the club.
Conte won five Serie A titles during his time as a player – four of which as a captain. He eventually returned in 2011, six years after departing Juventus.
The Italian guided Juventus to their first Serie A title in nine years during his first season in charge. He won three league titles on the bounce before leaving the club in 2014, and was the catalyst for the unprecedented decade of dominance that Juventus have since enjoyed.
As playing and managerial careers go, Pep Guardiola’s done alright for himself.
During his 11 years at Barcelona he won La Liga on six occasions, before returning to his boyhood club as a manager to win it a further three times.
Guardiola also tasted victory in the European Cup with Barcelona in 1997 – a competition he would win twice in the space of three years when in the hot seat at Camp Nou.
Another generational talent, Zidane has actually won more honours at Real Madrid as a manager than he ever did as a player.
The Frenchman spent five years in the Spanish capital as a player, winning the Champions League in 2002 and La Liga in 2002/03.
Zidane has been in the Real Madrid hot seat for a little over three and a half years – over two separate spells – and has already guided the Spanish giants to two La Liga titles and a hat-trick of successive Champions League crowns.
You wouldn’t bet against him eventually completing his double honours list by winning the World Cup as France boss one day either.
West Ham remain interested in signing Barcelona’s Moussa Wagué this summer, with one report stating he is close to a move away from Camp Nou.
The Senegal international joined the Catalan giants from K.A.S Eupen back in 2018 but has failed to make the grade in La Liga.
The 21-year-old was promoted to the first-team under former manager Ernesto Valverde, yet his struggles saw him sent out on loan to Ligue 1 side OGC Nice for the second half of the season.
With his future in Catalonia seemingly up in the air, Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo (via Sports Witness) report that the Hammers remain very keen to sign the player and are one of the clubs to have shown the ‘most interest’.
The young full back has previously been linked with a move to the London Stadium following the club’s failure to tie promising defender Jeremy Ngakia down to a new contract.
With Ngakia now having having left the club following the expiry of his deal – and with veteran defender Pablo Zabaleta also departing in June – the club is in desperate need of reinforcements on the right side of defence.
Wagué may have been limited to just six appearances in all competitions during his time at Barça, but he has valuable experience at international level, having played at the 2018 World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019.
The report also suggests the player is potentially close to securing a transfer, although it is unclear if that deal would see the player moving to the Hammers.
As for Barcelona, they have already been linked with a number of right back options, with current full back Nelson Semedo expected to depart the club. One name that has bizarrely been rumoured for a move to Camp Nou is Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot, who Barça have previously tried to sign.
Arsenal have emerged as the frontrunners to secure a deal for Philippe Coutinho on a season-long loan from Barcelona this summer.
Addressing a lack of creativity is at the forefront of Mikel Arteta’s plans this window – along with the obvious defensive issues – having struggled desperately in that area throughout the 2019/20 season.
One avenue the Gunners are following in a bid to bring in a creative player is to offer outcast Matteo Guendouzi as a makeweight in any deal, something that has been proposed to Barça as they attempt to lure Coutinho to the Emirates.
However, per the Evening Standard, this player-plus-£9m cash deal to secure him on a permanent contract is not something the Spanish side are overly keen on. Due to that, another loan appears the more likely scenario, with Arsenal leading the chase.
A temporary move to Bayern for Coutinho failed to end in a permanent switch, but Barça had still hoped to sell the Brazilian in the current window to inject some desperately needed additional funding into the club. Due to the effects of the coronavirus, this is nigh on impossible as they’re seeking €120m.
Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, has close ties to the Gunners’ board, with the relationship he has with the club and his client accelerating the possibility of Arsenal securing a temporary deal. The 28-year-old has been offered to Premier League rivals Tottenham as well, but Arteta is thought to be most enticed about bringing him to north London.
With three years left to run on his deal, Barça are resigned to keeping him on their books for another season at least, therefore shipping him out on another loan with the club in question paying a chunk of his wages is as good as they’ll get. Their wage bill is the highest in world football.
The 28-year-old’s annual wages of around €13.7m are too much for Arsenal to pay by themselves though, therefore La Blaugrana willing to subsidise half of that salary and charge the Gunners a €10m loan fee.
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