Rumour Has It: Man City rule out move for Barcelona forward Griezmann

By Sports Desk July 13, 2021

Manchester City's search to replace Sergio Aguero is well known.

Spanish reports have linked Pep Guardiola’s side with Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann.

So, could City - who won the Premier League but lost the Champions League final to Chelsea – be set to bring in the France international? Possibly not...

 

TOP STORY – GRIEZMANN NOT ON CITY RADAR

Manchester City are ready to ramp up their move for a new striker during the transfer window but will not pursue Barcelona forward Griezmann, claims The Sun.

Pep Guardiola's side will instead set their sights on Tottenham's Harry Kane, while Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland is another possibility.

The Sun's report denies Spanish links between City and Frenchman Griezmann, with Barcelona understood to be keen to reduce their wage bill to free up funds to re-sign Lionel Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail reports that Atletico Madrid's signing of midfielder Rodrigo De Paul from Udinese will pave the way for Liverpool's proposed move to sign Saul Niguez. De Paul's arrival means Atleti are free to sell him off, with the Reds and Barcelona reportedly interested.

- Juventus are homing in on a transfer for Manchester City's Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus, while they are also keen on bringing back Moise Kean to Turin, according to Tuttosport.

- Manchester United are edging closer to agreeing terms with French defender and long-term target Raphael Varane for a move from Real Madrid, reports the Mail.

- Jadon Sancho's move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United will be confirmed this week with a medical before his post-Euro 2020 holiday, claims The Sun.

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio will become Jose Mourinho's first signing at Roma imminently.

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    Speaking ahead of Chelsea's trip to face Brighton, who have never beaten the Blues in 13 league meetings, Tuchel also criticised the scheduling of his team's trip to the Amex Stadium.

    Chelsea are winless in three Premier League games, their longest run without victory under the German coach, but Tuchel, while praising City, claimed his team are still in contention for a first Premier League title since 2017.

    "Maybe we have to stop focusing on our own problems, and simply admit that City are in a very strong place", Tuchel said.

    "In the last 12 matches they have a 100 per cent record. They earned what they have. Maybe it's necessary to admit this.

    "The second thing to say is that we will never give up. Never, never, never, until the race is over.

    "I told you many weeks ago that we were in a good place because we were in the middle of the race. Maybe we're not there anymore, but we're still in the race.

    "We cannot lower our ambitions because it [the gap to City] is now 13 points, we cannot. We are committed to our goals."

    Chelsea managed just one shot on target in their defeat at the Etihad, struggling to make inroads against the team with the most clean sheets in the Premier League (13), but Tuchel seemed content with his side's performance against the champions.

    "Last match, like all the five matches we've played now against Manchester City [since Tuchel took charge last year], was 50-50," he said. "We won the first three, but all of them could have gone the other way.

    "I'm happy with where the team is, there's no need to doubt the process. We will bounce back and never give in."

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  • Umtiti set for surgery on fractured metatarsal at Barcelona Umtiti set for surgery on fractured metatarsal at Barcelona

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    Chris Wood made his debut as the club's only fit senior striker following his £25million move from relegation rivals Burnley.

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    Wood did not have an immediate impact, and Newcastle's attackers have struggled to aid their defensive colleagues this season, never once forging a two-goal lead in a game.

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    This dismal trend has resulted in nine draws through 20 games, their most at this stage of a season in the competition's history (beating eight in 20 in 2003-04).

    Having lost fewer games (10) than 13th-placed Aston Villa (11) and trailed for only 35 per cent of their time with the ball in play (the same proportion as 10th-placed Leicester City), it will be these draws that relegate Newcastle, with such fine margins deciding their destiny to this point.

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    Generous Geordies giving up gifts

    Newcastle have gifted away a league-high 10 goals this term through errors leading to goals (four), penalty goals (five) and own goals (one), representing 23.3 per cent of the alarming total of 43 in the goals against column.

    It is a statistic that reflects slightly harshly on the St James' Park outfit, given Newcastle have given up just eight chances through errors. Only Everton (six goals from eight errors) have been punished more ruthlessly.

    But there can be no doubt Howe needs upgrades in that area of the pitch.

    Not content with squandering opportunities at one end, Clark is the only player in the Premier League to make an error leading to a goal, concede a penalty and be sent off this season – all in the space of 993 minutes. In fact, his error against Manchester City came inside five minutes on his return to the team having been dismissed after nine minutes against Norwich City.

    Long-term colleague Lascelles has been little better. He alone has conceded three penalties this term, more than any other player in the division. Meanwhile, Schar is the sole Newcastle player to have committed multiple errors leading to shots.

    There are only weak links in the middle of that defence right now.

    No Botman and Robin but a DC superhero?

    With Trippier already on board, Newcastle could yet recruit an entirely new defence this month, with Howe said to want two centre-backs – Botman and Diego Carlos appear the top targets – alongside a left-back.

    Robin Gosens was the latest name to emerge and be dismissed as an option by his current employers, Atalanta, over the weekend, but Newcastle surely have to land at least one of these ambitious targets in time for another vital fixture at Leeds United on Saturday.

    Botman showed on Sunday why he is so sought after and why Lille are so keen to keep hold of him, scoring at Marseille while also contributing 12 clearances and three blocks as the 10-man champions earned a draw. It is only the second example in Europe's top five leagues this season (also Dante versus Rennes in December) of a player making at least 12 clearances and three blocks.

    Diego Carlos, it would appear, is a more realistic buy in January, despite his importance to a Sevilla team who have conceded only 13 goals in 20 league games this term – a joint-low alongside Manchester City across Europe.

    The Brazil Olympic champion has started 19 of those games and leads LaLiga in blocks (21); interestingly, Burnley's James Tarkowski, another player of interest to Newcastle, tops the Europe-wide charts with 29.

    Diego Carlos should also bring some calm in possession, with his passing accuracy (88.4 per cent) dwarfing that of Clark (79.0), Lascelles (78.2) and Schar (67.3). The Sevilla man ranks second in LaLiga for passes (1,298) and sixth for forward passes (411), fitting with Howe's more progressive approach.

    Yet Newcastle's willingness to push their bid up towards a club-record fee may well be questioned in some quarters due to the more concerning similarities with his potential new team-mates.

    No player in Europe has made more errors leading to shots than Diego Carlos, with two of the five resulting in goals. Meanwhile, since joining Sevilla in 2019, he has conceded 10 penalties in all competitions – including three for fouls on current Premier League players in Adama Traore, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku.

    Sevilla have only lost one of those 10 games, peculiarly, perhaps showing the difference Diego Carlos can make outside of these rash moments.

    Ideally, Newcastle would not introduce more chaos into this defence, but they certainly cannot afford to do nothing. If Diego Carlos is the man they want, the pressure is on to deliver him in time for Saturday.

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