Rumour Has It: Man City waiting before opening Messi talks, Haaland Barcelona's ideal signing

By Sports Desk February 20, 2021

Manchester City are reportedly yet to begin talks over a move for Lionel Messi, while Erling Haaland is Barcelona's ideal signing.

Messi's future continues to be a major talking point as the star's contract at Barcelona expires at the end of the season.

City have been one of the clubs most strongly linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, but it seems the Premier League giants are waiting.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY YET TO BEGIN MESSI TALKS

Manchester City are yet to open talks with Lionel Messi, according to ESPN.

The report says City will wait until the Argentina international has decided his Barcelona future before considering negotiations.

It comes after claims the Premier League side had already tabled an offer to Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

- Erling Haaland is wanted by numerous European giants. Mundo Deportivo reports the Borussia Dortmund star would be Barcelona's ideal signing, but the LaLiga side are considering more affordable options.

- Manchester United were seemingly keen to land Barcelona forward Ansu Fati last year. Mundo Deportivo says a £129.7million (€150m) bid from United for the 18-year-old was rejected ahead of 2020-21.

- With Tottenham slipping to ninth in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has come under fire. ESPN reports Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will wait until the end of the season to make a decision on the head coach.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Gianluigi Donnarumma is yet to agree to a new deal with Milan. 90min claims the 21-year-old wants to succeed Manchester United shot-stopper David de Gea as the highest paid goalkeeper in the world, although he is prepared to take reduced terms at Milan.

- Thierry Henry could be set to take over at Bournemouth. talkSPORT reports the Championship club have requested permission from CF Montreal, where Henry is currently in charge, to talk to the Arsenal great.

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    With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of form and ostracised at the Emirates Stadium and Alexandre Lacazette struggling for goals, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is desperate to land attacking reinforcements in January.

    Their hunt for Fiorentina hitman Vlahovic has apparently failed but Sweden star Isak may be a potential option for the Premier League side.

    TOP STORY – ISAK THE MAN FOR MIKEL?

    Vlahovic has been a man in demand during the January transfer window, though it appears Juve have won the race in a €75million deal.

    Arsenal are now thought to be turning their attention to Real Sociedad forward Isak, and are reportedly ready to make him their club-record signing by paying £75million, which would trigger Isak's release clause.

    Isak scored 17 goals in 34 LaLiga outings last term, but he has managed just four from 18 top-flight appearances in 2021-22 thus far.

    ROUND UP

    - Newcastle United's pursuit of new players in their fight against relegation has reportedly led to a €40m (£33.5m) bid for Lyon's defensive midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to the Guardian. Arsenal and Juventus have also been touted as potential suitors.

    - The Evening Standard says Tottenham are planning a loan deal for Fiorentina's Sofyan Amrabat as Antonio Conte looks to bolster his midfield with Tanguy Ndombele, Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso all set to be allowed to leave. A move for Georginio Wijnaldum, whose move to Paris Saint-Germain has not exactly gone to plan, has also been tipped.

    - Germany full-back Robin Gosens could be about to swap Atalanta for Serie A rivals Inter, with a move in the "final stages", says Fabrizio Romano.

    - Nicolas Tagliafico has told Ajax he wants to joined Barcelona in what he considers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Goal first reported Barca coach Xavi was eyeing the left-back to provide competition for Jordi Alba.

    - Donny van de Beek is seemingly headed for a loan move out of Manchester United. Crystal Palace are said by Sky Sports to be in direct negotiations with the Red Devils, while a temporary switch to Valencia is also an option.

  • Martial seals Man Utd exit with Sevilla loan Martial seals Man Utd exit with Sevilla loan

    Anthony Martial will play the remainder of the 2021-22 season on loan in LaLiga with Sevilla after falling out of favour at Manchester United.

    France international Martial has reportedly taken a pay cut to join the Andalusian club, who it is said will pay €6million for salary and a loan fee combined.

    United interim boss Ralf Rangnick revealed last month that Martial had asked to leave the club in January after struggling for first-team football following a return from injury.

    Rangnick then claimed in the wake of United's 2-2 Premier League draw with Aston Villa that Martial was not with the squad because he "didn't want" to be involved – the forward refuted those claims.

    While Rangnick drew a line under the situation, he hinted United were negotiating exits for several players ahead of the transfer deadline, and Sevilla's tactic of playing the long game has paid off.

    LaLiga's second-placed side were linked with Martial last month, but reports suggested they could not get anywhere near the player's wage demands, and United were seemingly unwilling to lower their own demands.

    But a breakthrough in negotiations has seen the clubs reach an agreement that Sevilla will hope significantly boosts their chances in LaLiga's title race.

    After 22 matches played, Sevilla are just four points behind leaders Real Madrid.

    Throughout January, they have been linked with forwards due to injuries and a general lack of goals scored – their 34 in LaLiga is the fewest of those in the top four and 13 behind Madrid's tally.

    Rafa Mir is their top scorer in the league despite a fairly underwhelming total of six in 20 appearances, with the pre-season arrival from Wolves struggling to pick up the slack for Youssef En-Nesyri, who has been absent through injury and Africa Cup of Nations duty.

    Sevilla will hope Martial can hit the ground running after the international break, but he may be lacking match sharpness given he has played the full 90 minutes of a game once all season and has played just eight minutes of football since Rangnick's first match in charge in early December.

  • 'All is well' - Mane taken to hospital after head injury blow at AFCON 'All is well' - Mane taken to hospital after head injury blow at AFCON

    Sadio Mane says "all is well" after he was taken to hospital following a nasty clash of heads during Senegal's Africa Cup of Nations victory over Cape Verde.

    Mane's brilliant strike broke the deadlock as Aliou Cisse's side overcame stubborn opponents 2-0 to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition.

    However, Senegal forward Mane was substituted soon afterwards, appearing to still be feeling the effects of an earlier collision with Vozinha.

    As he chased a bouncing ball on the edge of the penalty area, Mane collided with the Cape Verde goalkeeper, who was dismissed following the intervention of VAR.

    A photograph – posted on the official Africa Cup of Nations Twitter account – revealed that Vozinha visited the Liverpool forward in hospital after the game.

    Sharing the photo on Instagram, Mane told his 9.1million followers: "All is well. Thank you all for the messages."

    He will now hope to be fit for the quarter-finals, where Senegal will play either Mali or Equatorial Guinea on Sunday.

    Captain Kalidou Koulibaly said after the game, quoted by Senegalese sport website wiwsport.com: "Sadio Mane has to do some tests. We've had him on the telephone, and he says he's OK. He wasn't wanting to come off, but no risks should be taken. He's an important player for us."

    Reports later on Tuesday evening said Mane had been released from hospital.

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