Rumour Has It: Man City want Madrid's Benzema, Bayern to battle for Chiesa

By Sports Desk November 29, 2021

Manchester City's forward pursuit has dominated headlines.

Since Sergio Aguero left for Barcelona, Pep Guardiola's champions have been targeting a replacement.

Karim Benzema could reportedly fill the void.

 

TOP STORY – BENZEMA TO CITY?

Manchester City want to sign Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, according to El Nacional.

Premier League champions City are desperate to bolster their attack, having missed out on Tottenham's Harry Kane following the departure of Sergio Aguero at the start of the season.

Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic have been linked, but Benzema – out of contract in 2023 – has emerged as an option.

 

ROUND-UP

- Nicolo Schira claims Bayern Munich are set to battle Chelsea for Federico Chiesa. The Italy international is on loan at Juventus from Fiorentina and set to join the Bianconeri permanently at the end of the season. However, if Juve fail to qualify for the Champions League, rivals could pounce.

Barcelona are eyeing a move for Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, per Mundo Deportivo. Martial has found game time hard to come by at Old Trafford.

- SuperDerpote claims Madrid midfielder Luka Modric would be open to leaving for City. Modric is out of contract at the end of the season. It comes after Marca said Los Blancos are not interested in United star and soon-to-be free agent Paul Pogba.

Marcelo Brozovic is set to re-sign with Serie A champions Inter, according to Tuttosport. Brozovic has been linked with United, Barca and PSG.

Related items

  • Conte calls Tottenham-Arsenal postponement 'very strange' but Rodgers appreciates caution Conte calls Tottenham-Arsenal postponement 'very strange' but Rodgers appreciates caution

    Tottenham coach Antonio Conte believes the decision to postpone last weekend's scheduled north London derby was "very, very strange", but Leicester City counterpart Brendan Rodgers appreciates the Premier League's caution.

    Arsenal submitted their request to have the game called off due to a lack of first-team player availability.

    But critics accused the club of exploiting the Premier League's rules in order to get out of games while players were absent through injury, suspension or Africa Cup of Nations duty.

    Arsenal had only one confirmed positive COVID-19 case at the time of their application, but the Premier League deemed they were unable to meet the required number of available players (13 outfielders and a goalkeeper) despite their Under-23s managing to field a squad of 16 on Friday.

    Spurs released a statement criticising the decision, and Conte has since commented in public for the first time.

    "The club made a statement and it was very clear to show our disappointment," the Italian told reporters. "It was disappointing because we prepared the game to play against Arsenal and the decision to postpone the game was very, very strange.

    "My feeling is that when there is a situation to play we have to play, not to postpone games for injuries, for international duty.

    "I think we have a big problem to solve and that is COVID, but only about this situation can you decide to postpone, not for other situations.

    "Honestly, it's my first time in my life – and I've had a bit of experience in football – to see this type of decision."

    Frustrations relating to postponements had been building over the previous couple of weeks and they seemed to reach boiling point with the decision to call off the derby.

    Much of the discontent relates to certain clubs' apparent reluctance to use younger players from their second or academy teams.

    Leeds United were praised on Sunday for going ahead with their match away to West Ham and winning 3-2 despite seven of their nine substitutes having no prior Premier League experience at all – one of the two who had appeared in a top-flight game before had only a three-minute cameo to his name.

    Premier League rules state Under-21 players must be deemed "appropriately experienced" in order to count towards top-flight eligibility criteria for postponement purposes, and Rodgers – whose Leicester face Spurs on Wednesday – feels this is the fairest approach for the mental well-being of youngsters.

    "It depends on how you frame it," Rodgers responded when asked about the apparent under-utilisation of young players.

    "We have young players coming in now like [Kiernan] Dewsbury-Hall, and his timeline is that he went out on loan.

    "You have to be careful. Not every Under-23 player is ready for Premier League football and you don't want to destroy a career. Development is different for players. We will look to play young players at the right time, we have been able to do that in the FA Cup.

    "The rules are clear. For the Premier League, you have to have 13 plus a goalkeeper, so there is enough clarity. It doesn't say the guys out have to be out with COVID. The rules are there and clear.

    "We are clear on where we are now. We were shown in a managers' meeting that it will hit different areas at different times, and different parts of the country will be hit.

    "Lots of players are injured because they are having to play more. The Premier League have tried to be as fair as they can, and then there's Under-23s if they are experienced enough.

    "We played the FA Cup game, but then we couldn't play the next game because we didn't have the players.

    "Everyone has an opinion, but unless you're inside a club and are privy to the injuries and COVID cases, then it's probably difficult to say [games shouldn't be postponed]. All the clubs are working to get the games on."

  • 'I don't think he's mad at me' – Lewandowski reacts as Messi FIFA vote is revealed 'I don't think he's mad at me' – Lewandowski reacts as Messi FIFA vote is revealed

    Robert Lewandowski declared he would not let it trouble him after Lionel Messi left the Bayern Munich striker off his picks for the FIFA Best Men's Player award.

    Paris Saint-Germain superstar Messi lavished Lewandowski with praise after pipping him to the Ballon d'Or award in November, saying the Poland captain would have deserved the previous year's award, which was scrapped because of the pandemic.

    Yet when it came to selecting his picks for the FIFA prize, which is a right afforded to all national team captains and head coaches, Argentina skipper Messi chose PSG team-mates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as his first and second picks respectively, putting Real Madrid's Karim Benzema in third place.

    Lewandowski picked Champions League and Euro 2020 winner Jorginho as his first choice, ahead of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    In the end, Messi's voting choices did not prevent Lewandowski picking up the FIFA honour, which went his way on Monday. Messi finished second, with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah third.

    "When you see what he said at the Ballon d'Or, those were nice words and it was very nice of him," Lewandowski said of Messi in a news conference on Tuesday.

    "Regarding his choices, this question must go to him. I don't think he can be mad at me privately, if it's about sport. It was his decision and I have to respect that. I don't have to be mad. I definitely voted him second."

    Messi and Ronaldo had held a near-duopoly over European and world football's top awards in recent times, but Lewandowski has now won the FIFA award in consecutive years.

    The 33-year-old set a Bundesliga single-season scoring record last term when he hit 41 goals for champions Bayern Munich, passing Gerd Muller's 40-goal benchmark.

    Once again, this season he is setting the standard across Europe's top five leagues for putting the ball in the back of the net.

    Among players from the Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, LaLiga and Serie A, nobody comes close to matching Lewandowski's haul of 34 goals in 27 games so far across all competitions.

    Benzema is second on the list with 24 goals, Mbappe has 19, while Messi has scored only six times for PSG since his dramatic move from Barcelona.

    After Salah (23 goals) in third place, next among scorers is Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland (21 goals).

    There has been speculation Haaland's next club could be Bayern, and Lewandowski was asked whether the strikers could play together.

    "If I train with him, then after a week or two you could say something," Lewandowski said. "Erling is a different type of player than me. But he's a top player, and I'm happy that he shows how good he is in every game. For me, that means I can keep doing my job.”

  • Eriksen links have Brentford boss Frank pinching himself: 'I'd take Mbappe as well!' Eriksen links have Brentford boss Frank pinching himself: 'I'd take Mbappe as well!'

    Brentford manager Thomas Frank hinted at the club's potential interest in signing Christian Eriksen as he bids to make a return to top-level football, and even the rumours have the Danish coach pinching himself.

    Eriksen has not played since suffering a cardiac arrest during Denmark's Euro 2020 opener against Finland in June last year, an emergency that meant he had "died for five minutes".

    He was subsequently fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) – while the device could potentially save his life should something similar happen in future, it effectively ended his time at Inter due to Italian football regulations prohibiting professionals from having such implants.

    However, ICD are permitted in other European leagues, and the mutual contract termination between Inter and Eriksen last month means the player is free to seek a contract elsewhere.

    Former club Tottenham, with whom he spent six and a half years, had been mooted as a potential destination, but reports on Monday claimed Brentford had offered him a six-month deal with the option for another year.

    Frank, who coached Eriksen in the Danish youth setup, was initially coy on the rumours, saying: "I can tell you that Christian is a really good player. Everyone knows that. I worked with him in the past.

    "He needs to find a club. I love to speak about players that are in house and go running around training pitch. I don't think I should discuss that. I'm not discussing that too much.

    "I really hope he comes back to top football and plays football again. He spoke to Danish TV about playing at the World Cup and I hope he does succeed for all football, and for Danish fans. He's our biggest star from the Euros, we want the best for him and his family."

    He soon opened up a little more, seemingly confirming Brentford's interest in both Eriksen and Bologna's Scottish left-back Aaron Hickey before also making reference to a joke made about potentially signing Kylian Mbappe in a recent interview.

    "I'm interested in a lot of players, both Hickey and Eriksen," Frank added. "Someone spoke about Mbappe, I'd take him as well!

    "A lot of rumours. I love to discuss if and when we sign a new player and give my insight. We're in the market and we're looking for players."

    Even if Brentford cannot ultimately land Eriksen, Frank believes the fact he was even discussing such a rumour showed just how far the club had come, though he recognised the unusual circumstances of this particular story.

    He added: "We all know the journey this club has been on over the last eight to 10 years. Ten years ago someone would say we're crazy to [think we'd] be linked with Eriksen.

    "We're playing in the best league in the world, the club is progressing, it's positive. There are so many rumours out there, coaches being sacked, new players. I think it's more fun to talk about other things – let's speak about reality.

    "This a player that only plays for the top clubs. Something unfortunate happened with Christian, he deserves to play at the highest level and I hope he does.

    "In normal circumstances, there would be no rumours with a club like us. We should be flattered with Brentford involved with a player of Christian's qualities. It's the same with all the players out there… [Lionel] Messi, Mbappe, Eriksen… if they fill in the criteria, they are right for us."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.