Robinho Returning to Santos for Just Above Brazil’s Minimum Wage Rate

Robinho isn’t afraid to earn a lot less to play for his boyhood club…

The 36-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and former Manchester City forward has signed a five-month contract with former club Santos, and he’ll earn $271 (R$1.500) a month, which is just above the country’s minimum wage.

Robinho

Robinho re-joined his boyhood club for a third stint as a free agent, having left Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir shortly after helping them win their first Super Lig title last season.

“I will play for a minimum wage, but the most important thing is to be here,” Robinho told the club’s official website.

“I am well physically and mentally, obviously there is still a little bit of rhythm [missing], but that over time we will gradually evolve.”

Robinho, who shot to fame after making his professional debut with Santos in 2002, went on to play for Real Madrid, City and AC Milan, among other clubs.

He won two national championships, two Paulista tournaments and the Brazilian Cup in his previous two spells with Santos.

“I have many fond memories here,” Robinho added. “The fans can be certain that I will give my best to help Santos FC on and off the pitch.

Santos FC is going through a difficult financial time. So this is the time for those who can do something. I want to help the club that always gave me everything. Santos FC has already done a lot for me and this return is still little.”

Santos are going through financial difficulties and could soon face a transfer ban from FIFA over unpaid debts.

Chilean club Huachipato are demanding Santos to complete the $3.4m deal over the signing of Venezuelan striker Jefferson Soteldo, while Colombian outfit Atletico Nacional claim they are still owed $774,000 from the sale of defender Felipe Aguilar.

Manchester City Eyeing Nicolas Otamendi Transfer to Benfica

Nicolas Otamendi could be switching sides soon…

The 32-year-old Argentine professional footballer, who plays for Manchester City, could be heading to Portugal’s Benfica team.

Nicolas Otamendi

Manchester City is reportedly close to signing Benfica defender Ruben Dias, according to ESPN, that would send Otamendi to Benfica.

Pep Guardiola is hoping to bolster ManCity’s defense with Dias’ arrival. The 23-year-old, who has been capped 19 times by Portugal, is set to arrive in Manchester this week to finalize the move.

Otamendi has yet to feature for Guardiola’s side this season. City are prepared to let the Argentina international leave after five years at the club following his move from Valencia in 2015.

Otamendi has been selected for the Argentina team by coach Lionel Scaloni for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.

David Silva Signs with Real Sociedad

David Silva is ready to kick things up in Spain…

Real Sociedad have signed the 34-year-old Spanish footballer and former Manchester City midfielder as a free agent, the La Liga side has announced.

David Silva

Silva recently left Man City after a decade of service, in which he won 11 major trophies including four Premier League titles.

Manchester City had recently announced that they’d be honoring Ruiz by building a statue of him outside the Etihad Stadium.

La Real, who finished sixth in La Liga, were searching for a new playmaker after Martin Odegaard ended a one-year loan spell to return to Real Madrid.

Silva had been linked with a move to Italian club Lazio, but instead returns to his home country, having begun his professional career at Valencia.

In a social media post, Silva said goodbye to Man City fans:

“I look back and it’s clear I could not have made a better decision than to accept City’s proposal to join their project back in 2010,” he said.

“Manchester City and I have grown together. In 10 years, I have developed personally and professionally. I have celebrated many victories and titles and lived through epic moments.

“I have seen my lovely child, Mateo, born and I have even started to feel comfortable under heavy rain! City are a fantastic family. I won’t ever forget the way they threw themselves into helping me when I suffered the hardest moments of my life, offering me support and empathy.”

Manchester City to Pay Tribute to David Silva with Statue

David Silva may be leaving Manchester City, but his likeness will live on…

Manchester City has announced that they’ll erect a statue of the 34-year-old Spanish footballer outside Etihad Stadium as a tribute to the player as he leaves after 10 years with the club.

City’s Champions League exit to Lyon on Sunday marked his final game after he announced in June that he’d leave Manchester at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Silva won 11 trophies with the club including four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five League Cups and three Community Shield trophies.

“David Silva is a transformational player; a quiet leader who has acted quietly and deliberately and inspired everyone around him, from the youngest academy player to his senior teammates over the past 10 years,” City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarakn said in a statement.

“He has put a stamp on the team, on this club, its history and even the Premier League as a whole. In doing so he has been instrumental to the beautiful football philosophy you see today. He was the start of it.”

City announced in 2019 that a similar statue would be erected of former City captain Vincent Kompany, with both statues are set to be unveiled in 2021.

Capped 125 times by Spain, Silva won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.

He told ESPN last year that he’d like to end his career playing for Las Palmas, his hometown club on the island of Gran Canaria.

“Ten years for me is enough. It’s the perfect time for me,” he said of his departure.

“Initially, City were talking about two years, but I decided to sign [for] another one, so I finished at 10 years.

“It completes the cycle. It’s a nice round figure. I can never see myself playing against City for another team. So 10 years — that’s it.”

Manchester City Completes Signing of Ferran Torres

It’s official… Ferran Torres is headed to Manchester City.

The team has completed the signing of the 20-year-old Spanish professional footballerfrom Valencia CF, the club has announced.

Ferran Torres

Torres will move to the Etihad for a fee of €23 million plus add-ons, according to ESPN.

Torres, who has been capped six times with Spain’s Under-21 team, is Pep Guardiola‘s first signing of the summer.

Valencia were resigned to losing Torres, who had just one year left on his contract. He made 97 appearances for the La Liga side and scored nine goals.

He was made a prime target for Guardiola and director of football Txiki Begiristain following the sale of Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich.

“I am so happy to be joining City,” Torres said. “Every player wants to be involved in attacking teams and Manchester City are one of the most attacking in world football.”

“Pep encourages a really open, aggressive style, which I love, and he is a manager with a proven track record of improving players. To have him overseeing my development is a dream.

“City have won plenty of trophies in the last 10 years and I hope I can play a role in continuing that success.”

Manchester City Nearing Deal for Valencia’s Ferran Torres

Ferran Torres is thisclose to heading to England.

Manchester City is close to agreeing a fee with Valencia for the 20-year-old Spanish professional footballer, according to ESPN.

Ferran Torres

Man City is set to pay €23 million plus add-ons for the right winger, a SpainUnder-21 international. Negotiations are ongoing but Manchester City is hopeful a deal will be concluded.

Torres was made a prime target for manager Pep Guardiola and director of football Txiki Begiristain following the sale of Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich.

Valencia has been resigned to losing Torres, who had just one year left on his contract. He has made 97 appearances for the La Liga side, scoring nine times. He has won six caps for Spain’s U21s.

Man City has moved quickly for Torres, who has also attracted interest from a host of Europe’s top clubs. Personal terms should not be a problem with Torres keen to link up with Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium.

David Luiz Looking to Extend Contract with Arsenal

David Luiz could be staying put…

The 33-year-old Brazilian professional footballer’s future will be resolved this week with all parties working towards extending his stay at Arsenal, according to the player’s agent Kia Joorabchian.

David Luiz

Luiz’s existing agreement expires at the end of this month (June 30) having only signed a one-year contract when joining the club from Chelsea in an £8 million deal last summer.

The Gunners have an option to sign him for another year but a decision hasn’t been made yet and Luiz’s case wasn’t helped by a calamitous performance in Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

After being dropped from the starting lineup, Luiz came on as a first-half substitute for Pablo Mari, made a mistake for the opening goal and was then sent off for conceding a penalty, which Kevin De Bruyneconverted.

His appearance lasted 25 minutes. Afterwards, Luiz decided to conduct a live television interview in which he expressed his regret that his contract situation has not been resolved before now.

For players whose contracts expire this summer, the deadline to extend for the end of the 2019-20 season is June 23.

And Joorabchian hinted in an interview with talkSPORTon Thursday morning that the delay is linked to ongoing contractual negotiations with several other players including Mari, Cedric SoaresBukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who are about to enter the final year of their deals.

“The situation from Arsenal’s point of view will be resolved this week,” he said. “I think it’s just not Luiz’s situation. There are several issues within the whole structure that will get resolved. June 23 is the deadline for most of the clubs to renew their contracts so that they can finish the season off and beyond. So irrespective of any situation, by June 23 everyone’s situation should be resolved.

Juan Manuel Lillo Named Pep Guardiola’s Assistant at Manchester City

Juan Manuel Lillo is Pep’s Man (City)…

Manchester City has announced the 54-year-old  Spanish football manager’sappointment as Pep Guardiola‘s assistant.

Juan Manuel Lillo

Lillo replaces Mikel Artetawho left the Etihad Stadium to become Arsenal manager in December.

Lillo arrives from Chinese side Qingdao Huanghai having coached Guardiola during a spell in Mexico with Dorados Sinaloa in 2006.

Guadiola once called him the “best coach I ever had,” while Lillo has previously described the City boss as “one of the most important people in my life, like a son to me.”

“I am delighted to have joined Manchester City’s coaching staff,” Lillo said in a statement. “My relationship with Pep goes back many years and I am thrilled to be joining him as part of this exciting team.

“Manchester City has enjoyed much success over recent seasons and played a brand of beautiful football we have come to expect from this club and its manager.

“It’s a pleasure to become a part of this group and I hope to make an important contribution to the club’s success going forwards.”

Lillo became the youngest head coach in the Spanish top flight when he took UD Salamanca to the Primera Divisionin 1995 at the age of 29. He has had spells in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Japan and China, where he left Qingdao Huanghai due to the coronavirus pandemic after leading the team to promotion to the Chinese Super League.

“We are delighted to welcome Juanma to Manchester City,” director of football Txiki Begiristain said.

“His vast experience working across three continents and with some of the most famous names in world football will be an invaluable asset to Pep and his team. “We look forward to him playing a vital role as we return to football.”

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.

Pablo Mari to Join Arsenal on Loan

Pablo Mari is headed to Londontown…

The 26-year-old Spanish professional footballer, currently a central defender for the Brazilian club Flamengo, has agreed a move to Arsenal on loan until the end of the season, with the option to make the deal permanent in the summer.

Pablo Mari

The move ends what turned out to be a topsy-turvy transfer deal that initally stalled and saw the defender return to Brazil.

The clubs seemingly agreed to the deal last weekend, with Mari traveling from Rio de Janeiro to London to undergo a medical and sign with the Premier Leagueside.

However, negotiations suffered a setback on Mondaywith Mari then returning to Brazil.

Mari put pressure on the Flamengo’s hierarchy to accept Arsenal’s offer and sources told ESPN the deal was never dead despite Flamengo putting out a statement criticizing Arsenal’s attitude.

Nonetheless, the deal now sees Mari reunite with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta. Mari was on Manchester City‘s books between 2016 and 2019 — where Arteta served as an assistant for Pep Guardiola— but never actually played for the first team.

He’s due to return to London now that the deal is agreed and become Arteta’s first signing at Arsenal.

“Pablo is an experienced player who will provide us with additional defensive quality,” Arsenal technical director Edusaid.

“We have been monitoring Pablo’s career for a while and we are very pleased to have reached agreement with Flamengo for him to join us initially until the end of our season.

“Together with Mikel and his coaching team, we are all looking forward to seeing Pablo in an Arsenal shirt.”