Arsenal eye swoop for £20m-rated West Bromwich Albion defender

Arsenal’s defence has been placed under the magnifying glass recently, and with scrutiny being piled upon the club’s leaky back-line, the Gunners are allegedly eyeing a January swoop for West Bromwich Albion’s £20m-rated captain Jonny Evans in a bid to shore-up the department – according to a report published by the Mirror. Evans, 30, has […]

Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola looking at Aymeric Laporte and Fred

• Laporte and Fred at Athletic Bilbao and Shakhtar respectively
• Duo would make City stronger in defence and central midfieldManchester City are weighing up approaches for Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Bilbao and Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred as Pep Guardiola seeks to strengthen his squad before the end of the January transfer window. Having seen primary target Alexis Sánchez join Manchester United on Monday, Guardiola is determined to bring in new faces before the end of the month and has opted to make a renewed attempt to secure Laporte after the French defender decided against a move to the Etihad Stadium in June 2016. The 23-year-old signed a four-year contract containing a release clause of €65m for two seasons, which is now believed to have risen to €70m (£61.5m) but that has not put off City from contacting his agents – former Spain internationals Carles Puyol and Iván Continue reading "Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola looking at Aymeric Laporte and Fred"

Bristol City won’t play the brave losers, Lee Johnson warns Pep Guardiola

• Manchester City visit Ashton Gate in Carabao Cup semi-final
• Johnson: ‘I hope Pep Guardiola picks his absolute best team’Lee Johnson said Bristol City have no desire to play the role of “brave losers” when Manchester City visit in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday night. The Championship side trail by one goal after Sergio Agüero’s injury-time winner two weeks ago – but Johnson is adamant his players will not relinquish their plan to attack from the outset. “We don’t want to be brave losers, we want to compete to win,” the Bristol City manager said. “It’s up to the players to be focused and tactically aware, and who knows what will happen if we can show the same quality as we have shown in the previous rounds? Continue reading...

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne signs new five-year contract

• Midfielder now under contract at Manchester City until 2023
• I’m really excited about what we can achieve in coming years’The Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has signed a new five-year deal, the Premier League leaders have announced. The Belgian, who joined City from the German club Wolfsburg in 2015, is now under contract until 2023. “I am really happy to have signed this new deal,” De Bruyne told the club’s website. Continue reading...

What is the point of super-rich football? | Letters

Just six clubs – Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris-Saint German – dominate European football, writes Will GobleBarney Ronay’s excellent article about Neymar (Sport, 20 January) sums up all that is wrong with modern football. As he states, the “breathtaking individual goal” Neymar scored against Dijon was, doubtless “sensational”, but completely devoid of meaning. Its true value comparable to a famous – but equally inconsequential – solo effort by George Best, for the San Jose Earthquakes against Fort Lauderdale Strikers, in the 1980s North American Soccer League. (When asked about the goal in later life, he is said to have replied, “crap defence”). Once scandalously described as a “slum sport, played in slum stadiums, watched by slum people”, football is now at elite level, a “super-rich sport, played by the super-rich, in super-rich stadiums”. I rarely watch the game nowadays. Only reports of a classic Continue reading "What is the point of super-rich football? | Letters"

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Romelu Lukaku is weighing in with some key contributions, Christian Benteke is not and Tottenham are showing how much weaker they are without Christian Eriksen Sergio Agüero has had a curiosity of a campaign. He has been injured, benched and below par at times. He has been outscored by Raheem Sterling for much of the season. Yet his hat-trick on Saturday meant he has scored 20 goals for a fifth successive campaign. Further milestones await: Agüero is nine away from becoming the first man to score 200 for City. He is 11 behind his career-best tally of 33 and, with successive cup ties against Championship opponents, Bristol City and Cardiff, he has the chance to make further inroads before Gabriel Jesus is fit again. Besides the numbers, the encouraging element for City is that, after an autumnal slump, Agüero looks to have regained his sharpness. He produced purposeful, elusive dribbling, Continue reading "Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action"