Rumour Has It: Man City frontrunners to land Grealish, Liverpool chase Inter's Bastoni

By Sports Desk March 19, 2021

Where will Jack Grealish play his football next season?

It is one of the big questions in English football right now and Manchester City have joined the conversation.

City are reportedly emerging as the favourites to sign the Aston Villa captain.

 

TOP STORY – CITY LINE UP GREALISH SPLASH

Manchester City appear best placed to sign Aston Villa's £100million-rated captain Jack Grealish, according to the Daily Mail.

Grealish reportedly came close to joining Manchester United last year, but the Red Devils could not come up with the funds to seal the deal.

City manager Pep Guardiola is a well-known admirer of Grealish, previously calling him "an exceptional player".

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Liverpool have joined the queue chasing Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni, with a reported £43m (€50m) move. European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Barcelona are also allegedly keen on the 21-year-old Italy international.

Tottenham are likely to opt out of exercising the £36m (€42m) option-to-buy Carlos Vinicius, who is on loan at Spurs from Benfica according to the Daily Mail. The report claims Spurs are only willing to pay more than half that amount for the Brazilian.

- Calciomercato says Juventus are considering a move for Arkadiusz Milik, who they have previously been linked with as they prepare for the possible departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala. Juve are reportedly set to revive their interest in Milik, with the Poland international on loan at Marseille from Napoli.

- Football Insider reports that United are plotting a move for Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez amid doubts over star David de Gea and Dean Henderson. They have also been linked with Milan sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Real Madrid are keen to bring back Levante winger Jorge de Frutos to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to Marca.

Related items

  • Cech exits as Chelsea boardroom reshuffle continues Cech exits as Chelsea boardroom reshuffle continues

    Chelsea technical and performance advisor Petr Cech has become the next departure as the Blues boardroom reshuffle continued following the takeover headed by Todd Boehly.

    Boehly and Clearlake Capital completed a £4.25billion takeover of Chelsea at the end of May, making numerous changes to start their tenure.

    Blues chairman Bruce Buck was the first to depart, with director and chief decision-maker Marina Granovskaia also set to leave after 12 years at Stamford Bridge.

    Granovskaia will remain available to Boehly, who is acting as interim sporting director and chairman, for the duration of the current transfer window to help with the transitional period.

    Cech, who took the boardroom role at Chelsea in 2019 after retiring as a player, reportedly held talks with Boehly this week in the wake of the Buck and Granovskaia exits.

    The former goalkeeper has subsequently opted to leave his role, effective on Thursday.

    "It has been a huge privilege to perform this role at Chelsea for the past three years. With the club under new ownership, I feel now is the right time for me to step aside," Cech said. 

    "I am pleased that the club is now in an excellent position with the new owners, and I am confident of its future success both on and off the pitch."

    Boehly added: "Petr is an important member of the Chelsea family.

    "We understand his decision to step away and thank him for his contributions as an advisor and his commitment to the club and to our community. We wish him the best."

  • Los Angeles FC aiming for 'long-term partnership' with Bale Los Angeles FC aiming for 'long-term partnership' with Bale

    Los Angeles FC want to form a "long-term partnership" with Gareth Bale, not just an agreement for six months before the World Cup.

    That is the message from LAFC's co-president John Thorrington, who spoke for the first time on the reported one-year deal to bring the Wales international to the United States.

    Bale revealed on Sunday he would join the MLS side when his Real Madrid contract expires and is said to have turned down a return to Tottenham, alongside an offer from hometown club Cardiff City.

    The 32-year-old will hope to prove his fitness before the World Cup in November, but Thorrington insists LAFC aim to keep Bale beyond the tournamnent in Qatar.

    "I'd love to get into specifics but, as policy, I don't," Thorrington told reporters when asked about the finances behind the deal. 

    "What I can tell you is that LAFC and Gareth are hoping that this is a long-term partnership and step for Gareth and his family.

    "It was never about six months just for the World Cup. We were always talking about longer-term than that. That was very clear from Gareth and his representative.

    "Obviously, we expect him to be a top, top player for us and in this league, but we will do so sensibly.

    “When Gareth is looking at what he needs to do, his priority will be at LAFC, we are absolutely sure of that, but we're not naive to the fact that he, like some other players of ours, have a World Cup on the horizon."

    LAFC lead the Western Conference in MLS after a 2-0 victory over New York Red Bulls.

    Steve Cherundolo's side host LA Galaxy on July 9, the first fixture after Bale could arrive, and Thorrington hopes to have the forward in action by then.

    "We don't have a firm date. Our window opens in early July and that will be the first time we can register him," he added.

    "We still have to go through immigration paperwork and things like that but we are hopeful that in the next week to 10 days we'll be able to take care of that for him and his family, to welcome them to Los Angeles and in order for him to start to get up to speed with the group and get his fitness up.

    "The first game he would be potentially available for would be the game we have here on July 8."

    World Cup winner Giorgio Chiellini has also signed for LAFC from Juventus this month, but Thorrington assures neither the centre-back nor Bale have moved for financial reasons.

    "You don't win five Champions League trophies, you're not the most valuable player of recent times, if you don't have that hunger," Thorrington continued.

    "We did our due diligence and I'm really excited about what this change of scene will mean for Gareth and his ability to focus on playing.

    "If Gareth was making this decision with a financial motive, he wouldn't be in MLS. I think what he saw in LAFC is a unique opportunity to make a real impact."

  • The three Man Utd youngsters who could be breakthrough stars for Erik ten Hag The three Man Utd youngsters who could be breakthrough stars for Erik ten Hag

    Erik ten Hag is the latest boss Manchester United have turned to in their pursuit of success in the post-Alex Ferguson era.

    David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have failed to meet expectations since Ferguson's retirement in 2013, leaving Ten Hag with a difficult challenge on his hands.

    Aside from getting results right on the pitch and challenging for honours, Ten Hag also has the task of bleeding young talent into the first-team fold on a regular basis – something his predecessors have all continued to do despite their eventual failings.

    The likes of Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay have capitalised on opportunities in the past decade after rising through the club's youth ranks – and United have no shortage of players who can follow suit.

    Three players in particular are ones that Ten Hag should be keeping close tabs on, and they could become integral.

    Facundo Pellistri

    The highly rated winger has spent the past 18 months on loan in Spain with Deportivo Alaves, accumulating plenty of first-team opportunities with a total of 33 appearances across all competitions in that period, but just 11 have been as a starter.

    United may feel they can provide those limited opportunities off the bench themselves and, if utilised, can expect plenty of link-up play down the right side from Pellistri – with the majority of his final-third passes during his spell with Alaves coming in that area.

    No team in the top six of the Premier League last season scored fewer goals than United last term (57), with seventh-placed West Ham (60) and eighth-placed Leicester City (62) also bettering that tally.

    The attacking third is an area where Ten Hag needs to find more threat and Pellistri may provide that option, albeit he failed to register a goal or an assist during his spell in Spain. He created seven chances in 753 first-team minutes last season, but none of those were converted.

    With more creativity in the squad at United and better support, Pellistri should be able to improve on his direct return to register more influential moments in matches.

    James Garner

    Garner has helped turn Nottingham Forest from second-tier middlemen to a Premier League outfit – with a play-off victory against Huddersfield Town bringing an end to a 23-year wait for top-flight football.

    In Forest's promotion-winning campaign, loanee Garner was a regular fixture in the side with 41 appearances, 36 of which were as a starter, resulting in four goals and eight assists – with only Brennan Johnson, Lewis Grabban and Philip Zinckernagel being involved in more direct goal contributions.

    Seven of Garner's assists came from set-pieces, with United's overall total in 2021-22 being 10 in that regard – so Garner could play an integral part in improving that return with his deliveries from corners and free-kicks, if Bruno Fernandes can occasionally be shuffled off such duties.

    Crucially for a club like United, Garner has shown he can perform under pressure given his display in the Championship play-off final against Huddersfield – where his accuracy of 88 per cent from 48 attempted passes included completions across the field.

    Forest, understandably, are reportedly interested in bringing Garner back to the City Ground again next season in their bid to remain in the Premier League, but United will assess the 21-year-old in pre-season before making a final decision.

    Alejandro Garnacho

    Earning his senior debut for United in the Premier League clash against Chelsea in April, Garnacho's introduction to the Premier League was merely a cameo at the end of that clash.

    On the final day of the season, in a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, Garnacho again came off the bench for an 11-minute appearance and was once more limited with his opportunity to make an impression – though that has already been done in the youth ranks.

    He scored in UEFA Youth League matches against Atalanta and Young Boys. However, it was in the FA Youth Cup where Garnacho made perhaps his biggest impact, scoring in every round bar the fourth as United lifted the trophy – with a seven-goal haul in the competition including a double in the 3-1 victory against Nottingham Forest in the final.

    With Jadon Sancho struggling for consistency down the left for United since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund, Garnacho could return to the first-team fold during the 2022-23 season.

    Opportunities could well come in the cup competitions, including the Europa League, in what will be a frantic season due to the disruption caused by the World Cup in Qatar.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.