Manchester City Reportedly Closing Deal for Julian Alvarez

Julian Alvarez is thisclose to heading to Manchester City

ManCity is close to sealing a deal for the 21-year-old Argentine professional footballer and River Plate forward, according to ESPN sources.

Julian AlvarezCity believe they have seen off competition from AC Milan for Alvarez with the final details to be ironed out before an agreement is reached. Sources have told ESPN the overall cost of the transfer could be less than £20 million.

It;s likely that Alvarez, who has already been capped five times by Argentina, won’t move to the Etihad Stadium until next summer at the earliest but sources have told ESPN he would be considered a first-team signing.

Until he is ready to move to England, City will consider loaning him back to River Plate or arranging another loan elsewhere.

Asked about Alvarez following the 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday, Pep Guardiola remained tight-lipped.

“I don’t have any information from the club, anything,” he said.

“Not one word. I don’t know anything. I don’t have any information about the club.”

Alvarez is considered to be one of the best young players in South America and should City get a deal over the line, it would be a coup of the Premier League champions following interest from Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

City remain open to the idea that he could be part of Guardiola’s senior squad next season but sources have told ESPN his arrival would not change their plans to sign an established striker in the summer.

Brazil’s Palmeiras Offers Nearly $12.5 Million for NYCFC Star Valentin “Taty” Castellanos

Could Valentin “Taty” Castellanos play in Brazil soon?

Brazilian Serie A side Palmeiras has made an offer of around $12.5 million for the 23-year-old Argentine professional footballer and New York City FC striker, according to ESPN sources.

Valentin "Taty" CastellanosThe offer was made in the days following the NYCFC‘s MLS Cup final victory over the Portland Timbers, a match in which Castellanos scored in regulation time as well as in the penalty shootout, but the sources have added that the amount doesn’t yet meet the Blues’ valuation for the player — NYCFC are seeking in excess of $15m.

In 35 league and playoff appearances this season, Castellanos scored 22 goals and added eight assists while winning the Golden Boot. In parts of four seasons with NYCFC, he scored 40 goals with 18 assists in 99 league and playoff appearances.

In a recent interview with ESPN, Castellanos revealed that he dreams of playing in Argentina, but made it clear that he’s focused on a move to Europe, where he said he already has offers.

“Obviously, it’s a desire I have, because I’ve never played in Argentina,” he said via a translation. “But I don’t think the time is right now. I want to aim for European football. It’s reality, it’s my dream, I always wanted to [play] there. That’s my focus. Today I have many offers from Europe.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola recently praised Castellanos and said that the top scorer will soon be playing in Europe. Like Man City, New York City FC is part of the City Football Group.

This isn’t the first time that Palmeiras has pursued the Argentine. Last May, Palmeiras made an offer of $4m for 70% of the economic rights of the player. However, the American club, which at first had liked the proposal, withdrew from negotiations. NYCFC subsequently signed Castellanos to a new five-year contract through 2025. According to data from the MLS Players Association, Castellanos’ guaranteed compensation in 2021 was $776,000.

A native of Mendoza, Argentina, Castellanos originally joined NYCFC on loan in 2018 from Uruguayan side Montevideo City Torque, another City Football Group club. The Blues activated an option to purchase Castellanos after a successful loan stint, which included a goal in his debut against Vancouver Whitecaps.

Pep Guardiola Named Premier League Manager of the Season

Pep Guardiola is celebrating a premier honor…

This year’s Premier League awards have been doled out, with the 50-year-old Spanish professional football manager for Manchester City and former player taking home a trophy.

Pep Guardiola

Guardiola was named Manager of the Season for the 2020-21 period.

He previously won the manager’s award in 2017-18 and again in 2018-19 when he led Man City to consecutive league titles.

Under him, City conceded the fewest goals (32) this season and kept clean sheets in half of their games (19) to finish 12 points clear of second-placed Manchester United.

Guardiola won the award ahead of fellow nominees Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds United), David Moyes (West Ham United), Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United).

Lionel Messi Moves Past Pele to Become the New Leader in the Single Club Goal Tally

Lionel Messi has overtaken a legend…

The 33-year-old Argentine professional soccer star has surpassed Brazil’s legendary footballer Pele to become the player to score the most goals for a single club after taking his tally to 644 on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi

The record-breaking goal came in the second half of Barca‘s 3-0 win at Valladolid, with Messi taking the ball in stride off a nifty flick from Pedri for a finish into the corner of the net.

Pele struck 643 competitive goals for Santos during an 18-year stay with the Brazilian club. He left for the New York Cosmos in 1975 and until Messi’s goal, the record had stood ever since.

 

Gerd Muller came closest to matching Pele’s one-club goal-scoring feat. The former Germany international netted 565 times for Bayern Munich between 1964 and 1979. The top five is completed by Fernando Peyroteo (Sporting CP 1937-49, 544 goals) and Josef Bican (Slavia Prague 1950s, 534 goals).

 

“When I started to play football, I never thought I would break any record. Especially not the record held by Pele that I now hold,” Messi wrote on Instagram after Tuesday’s game. “I can only give thanks to everyone that has helped me throughout the years, my teammates, my family, my friends and everyone that supports me every day.”

 

The only other active player still in the top 10 is Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 450 goals for Real Madrid. The Juventus striker is 10th behind Jimmy McGrory (Celtic 1922-37, 522 goals), Jimmy Jones (Glenavon 1951-62, 517 goals), Uwe Seeler (Hamburg 1953-72, 507 goals) and Eusebio (Benfica 1961-75, 473 goals).

Messi’s Barcelona goals have been spread across 16 years in the club’s first team. He scored his first professional goal in 2005 against Albacete as a 17-year-old.

Along with Ronaldo, who played for Manchester United before Madrid and Juve, Messi has taken goal scoring to new heights over the past decade. Everyone else in the top 10 has been retired for at least 40 years.

Messi reached his zenith in the 2011-12 season, Pep Guardiola‘s final year in charge of Barcelona, when he scored 73 goals in all competitions. That tally was sandwiched in between 53 the previous season and 60 the season after.

The Argentina forward has scored more than 50 goals in a season on six occasions, including 58 in 2014-15 when he won his second Treble as a Barca player.

Messi replaced Cesar Rodriguez (232 goals) as Barca’s top scorer in 2012 and overtook Telmo Zarra (251 league goals) as the record scorer in La Liga in 2014.

In addition to his 644 goals with Barca’s senior side, he scored 11 goals for the C team and the B team as a teenager.

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.

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.

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.”