Barcelona Expresses Interest in Eric Garcia

There’s growing interest in Eric Garcia… 

Futbol Club Barcelona has enquired about the 19-year-old Spanish footballer’s situation at Manchester City as they line up a potential move to bring the defender back to Camp Nou, according to ESPN.

Eric Garcia

Manchester City was quick to knock back Barca‘s initial approach, with high-ranking executives at the English club making it clear that Garcia isn’t for sale. 

Team manager Pep Guardiola is especially fond of Garcia and, while ManCity hope to sign a new centerback this summer, they also want to keep him involved as part of the first-team squad.

However, there is also an understanding at the club that the uncertainty over Guardiola’s long-term future could become a problem at some point. Players are also in the dark and with two years left on his contract, Garcia is in a strong negotiating position.

This provoked Barca to ask about his availability during recent talks between the two clubs regarding a possible swap deal involving right-backs Nelson Semedo and Joao Cancelo.

Garcia was considered one of the brightest prospects in Barca’s La Masia academy when he decided to leave in 2017 to join Premier League champions Manchester City,

Guardiola handed him his full debut in a League Cup game against Leicester in 2018 and he has made 11 appearances this season, starting twice in the league and once in the Champions League.

He’s also been capped five times by Spain under-21s and Barca have followed his development closely since he left three years ago.

A number of different sources at Barca said the club view Garcia as a “good fit” centerback for the team’s style of football. He was brought up on the club’s philosophy and one of his major strengths is his ability on the ball.

Barca, who missed out on Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus last summer, have been searching for a central defender for a long time as they contemplate a future without Gerard Pique, who turned 33 in February.

Manchester City’s reluctance to sell makes a move for Garcia this summer unlikely, especially as Barca expect to be less active in the transfer market due to the effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on their budget. They will focus on their main target, Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, and will not have money left over to invest elsewhere.

But sources tell ESPN that Barca will not give up on Barcelona native Garcia in the long-term and will continue to monitor his situation as he moves into the final two years of his contract at the Etihad Stadium.

Mauro Icardi Signs Permanent Four-Year Deal with Paris Saint-Germain

Mauro Icardi is making things permanent…

The 27-year-old Argentine professional Inter Milan soccer player, who plays the Argentina national team, has signed a permanent four-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain.

Mauro Icardi

Icardi spent the 2019-20 season in the French capital on loan and the Ligue 1 champions have taken their option to sign him permanently, keeping him in Paris until 2024.

The deal would be worth €50 million euros plus €7m euros in potential add-ons, which is significantly less than the €70m release clause included in his loan agreement, according to ESPN.

Inter Milan recognized that due to the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, it was fair to lower their asking price. Inter Milan have long wanted to sell the striker, who joined the Nerazzurri seven years ago from Sampdoria.

In a statement on Inter Milan’s website, the club thanked the striker for his contribution to the team during the six seasons he spent with them.

Icardi made his mark on PSG last season, making 31 appearances in the 2019-20 season. He scored 20 goals and provided 4 assists on the team’s road to picking up the Ligue 1 title.

PSG had a 12 point lead on nearest rivals Marseille when the league was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Alexis Sanchez to Play for Inter Milan as Part of Season-Long Loan

Alexis Sanchez is headed to Italy…

The 30-year-old Chilean professional footballerhas joined Inter Milan on a season-long loan from Manchester United, the clubs have announced.

Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez, who joined United from Arsenal in January 2018, struggled to find his best form at Old Traffordand, despite manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaerhaving backed Sanchez to come good, has returned to Serie Awith Inter Milan.

“We can confirm that Alexis Sanchez joins Inter Milan on loan until 30 June 2020. We wish @Alexis_Sanchez the best of luck in Italy,” United wrote in a Twitter post.

Sources told ESPN FC earlier this week that Manchester United had agreed to loan Sanchez for 10 months while contributing around £6 million of his £391,000-a-week salary. Inter are set to pay £9.46m of the 30-year-old’s wages plus a loan fee to United. The deal does not include an option to buy.

Sanchez will join up with Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku who left United for Inter this month in a deal reported to have cost the Serie A club around €80m ($89.15m).

Sanchez, who previously spent three seasons in Serie A with Udinese before moving to Barcelona, is his country’s all-time leading scorer with 43 goals.

“On behalf of the entire Nerazzurri family, we’d like to wish [Sanchez] a very warm welcome and the best of luck,” Inter said in a statement.

He arrives at San Siro as a replacement for Ivan Perisic, who signed for Bayern Munich.

Ander Herrera & Manchester United Still Trying to Finalize New Deal While Other Teams Circle

Ander Herrera’s popularity is on the rise while he attempts to finalize a deal with his current team… 

The 29-year-old Spanish professional soccer star and Manchester United are facing a race against time to find an agreement to keep the midfielder at Old Trafford beyond the end of the season, according to ESPN FC.

Ander Herrera

Both parties are keen to agree a new contract that would see Herrera stay at United but, according to sources, there’s still a significant gap to be bridged before a deal is sealed.

Meanwhile, ESPN FCreports that Paris Saint-GermainArsenalJuventusInter Milanand Barcelona are among the clubs ready to sign Herrera on a free transfer if fresh terms are not agreed upon.

If the stand-off continues, Herrera will officially become a free agent on June 30.

Herrera would like to remain at United, but so far the club, who also want him to stay, have refused to meet his demands and a compromise is yet to be found.

There is a willingness of both sides to come to an agreement but there is also an acknowledgement that the clock is ticking and Herrera may soon be forced to seriously consider other options — especially with some of Europe’s biggest clubs circling.

Herrera is closing in on 200 games for United since arriving from Athletic Bilbaoin a £29 million deal in 2014. He was named player of year in 2017 and has played a key role in the revival under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since the Norwegian’s appointment as caretaker manager in December.

Lionel Messi Claims His Fourth European Golden Shoe Award

Lionel Messi is soccer’s Golden boy…

The 30-year-old soccer star received his fourth European Golden Shoe on Friday after netting 37 times in La Liga play during the 2016-17 season.

Lionel Messi

Messi beat out Sporting CP‘s Bas Dost (34 goals in Portugal‘s Primeira Liga) and Borussia Dortmund‘s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31 in the Bundesliga) in the top three to claim the prize, which is presented to Europe’s top goal scorer.

After also winning the award in 2012-13 (46 league goals), 2011-12 (50) and 2009-10 (34), Messi is tied with Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo for most regular winner of the Golden Shoe.

Messi’s 37 goals last season came in 34 Spanish top-flight appearances, but they were delivered as part of losing cause, as Real Madrid beat out Barca to the title.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has netted 12 goals in 12 games in the 2017-18 La Liga campaign.

He’s trailing Lazio‘s Ciro Immobile and Paris Saint-Germain‘s Edinson Cavani, who have netted 15 goals in Serie A and Ligue 1, respectively, in the race for this year’s Golden Shoe. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich‘s Robert Lewandowski, AS Monaco‘s Radamel Falcao and Inter Milan‘s Mauro Icardi have all netted 13 times.

Ronaldo, though, does not look like troubling the upper echelon of the European Golden Shoe rankings anytime soon, as he has netted just once in La Liga this season.

Messi will be looking to add to his tally on Sunday when top-of-the-table Barca travel to face second-place Valencia at the Mestalla.

Veron Comes Out of Retirement & Officially Re-Signs with Estudiantes

Juan Sebastian Veron is ready to prove age is nothing but a number…

The 41-year-old Argentine retired footballer is back in the game after officially re-signing for Estudiantes de la Plata, two years after hanging up his boots.

Juan Sebastian Veron

The former Manchester United and Argentina midfielder quit playing in 2014 to become chairman of his boyhood club, having won 73 caps for his country, while he also played Chelsea, Inter Milan and Lazio.

Veron had promised to play in the 2017 Copa Libertadores if supporters bought 65 percent of the tickets for the club’s new stadium and has now made good on that pledge.

He has signed an 18-month contract, meaning he will be 43 years old when the deal expires. He will be paid a minimal salary, all of which will be “donated for the development of the club.”

His first game back in Estudiantes colors is set to be against Bayer Leverkusen in the Florida Cup on January 8 after he spent the last few months working on his fitness.

“He told us he wants to return, that from January he will return as a player,” midfielder Israel Damonte told La Oral Deportiva last month. “He will play from January for the tournament [league] and Copa [Libertadores in 2017].”

Veron won Apertura titles with Estudiantes in 2006 and 2010, and the Copa Libertadores in 2009 — his second spell with the club.

In European football, he won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia with Parma in 1998-99, before going on to lift the Serie A and Coppa Italia double with Lazio in 1999-2000, as well as the UEFA Super Cup in 2009. He then won the Premier League with Manchester United in 2002-03 and another Italian double with Inter in 2005-06. He also won the Coppa Italia with Inter in 2004-05.

River Plate’s Alario to Liverpool or Tottenham?

There’s a battle brewing over Lucas Alario

Liverpool and Tottenham are involved in a tug-of-war over the 23-year-old Argentine soccer player, a striker with Argentine Primera División team River Plate.

Lucas Alario Lucas Alario

The Sun reports that Los Millonarios want £15 million for Alario, with Serie A clubs Inter Milan and Torino also ready to make offers.

The former Colon hit man has struck 20 goals in just 42 appearances, with five more assists since joining La Banda in the summer of 2015.

Alario, who made his international debut this year, is keen to play in the Premier League.

“Like every player, I dream to play in Europe at some point in my career,” he said. “For that, first I have to make things right at River, to keep growing and learning.”