Rumour Has It: Man City declined PSG's Neymar swap deal for Bernardo Silva

By Sports Desk July 20, 2022

Amid growing speculation in recent months, Christophe Galtier and Luis Campos' arrivals at Paris Saint-Germain this off-season could mean Neymar's departure.

The Brazilian joined PSG in 2017 for what remains a world-record €222 million fee from Barcelona, but there has been no European silverware to complement nine Ligue 1 titles over the past decade.

Lionel Messi linked up alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last term but the team's compatibility came under examination in their dramatic Champions League exit, despite winning Ligue 1 comfortably.

TOP STORY – PSG PROPOSED NEYMAR SWAP WITH MAN CITY

PSG proposed an exchange with Manchester City which would have seen Neymar and Bernardo Silva swap clubs earlier this off-season, Le Parisien claims.

The report alleges that the English champions declined the deal, as they are unwilling to let the Portuguese midfielder go.

Relations between Neymar, who is contracted until 2017, and PSG have been slightly testy recently.

Bernardo was linked with a switch to Barcelona earlier in the off-season, having reportedly been eager to leave the club last year.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are concerned that target Presnel Kimpembe will decline their approach, the Standard claims. The Blues are in talks with PSG over a £50m deal for Kimpembe.

– The Sun reports that Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, amid the latter's talks with Manchester United.

– Calciomercato claims that Tottenham have shown an interest in Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo although they will need to offload players to afford him.

– Spurs are not interested in signing Jesse Lingard according to Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile. Lingard, who left Manchester United recently at the conclusion of his contract, is hoping to decide on his future this week, with West Ham United believed to be his likely destination, while Nottingham Forest are also interested.

– Fabrizio Romano also claims that there is still no agreement between PSG and Inter on a deal for Martin Skriniar. Inter are not willing to sell the Slovakia international for PSG's last bid of €50m.

– Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed to a £32m deal for Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko, reports Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Liverpool have contacted Ajax about signing their Brazil international winger Antony.

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  • Nottingham Forest claim VAR is a Luton fan after defeat at Everton Nottingham Forest claim VAR is a Luton fan after defeat at Everton

    Nottingham Forest have accused VAR Stuart Attwell of being a Luton fan after feeling they were on the wrong end of “three extremely poor decisions” during Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at Everton.

    Forest posted on X, formerly Twitter, soon after full-time that they were considering their options, having “warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game but they didn’t change him”, adding that their patience had now been “tested multiple times” this season.

    The relegation-threatened midlands club were furious not to be awarded spot-kicks by Anthony Taylor for challenges on Giovanni Reyna and Callum Hudson-Odoi by Ashley Young, who in the meantime had looked fortunate to escape a handball decision, with Attwell backing the referee.

    Forest posted: “Three extremely poor decisions – three penalties not given – which we simply cannot accept.

    “We warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game, but they didn’t change him. Our patience has been tested multiple times.

    “NFFC will now consider its options.”

    All three incidents were waved away by referee Taylor, with VAR Attwell opting not to reverse any decision, suggesting with the handball that Young’s arm had been deemed to be in a natural position when it was hit by Hudson-Odoi’s cross.

    Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo backed the club’s statement in the main but played down the importance of Attwell’s allegiances.

    Asked whether he agreed with his club’s stance, he said: “Yes I share (the view) because I saw the images. You see it so clearly, you don’t understand why the decision was against us.

    “I honestly think the situation with Gio Reyna in the first half was a clear one and the handball, we can ask because if not, the ball goes to (Chris) Wood and there is an incident with Callum and Ashley Young.

    “I share the feeling of the club because it is not only this game, it has been a while for poor decisions against us. It is not an excuse but we are not comfortable with the referees.”

    Nuno stopped short of repeating the club’s suggestion Attwell’s appointment as VAR raised issues of impartiality, instead choosing to question the official’s inability to spot what he thought were three viable spot-kicks.

    “I am aware of the complaint that the club was not comfortable with the VAR but the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) decided another way,” he said.

    “It is not important if he is a fan of another club or not. The VAR is sitting down in a chair, they have time to assess the images.

    “I would just like to understand the why – why we have always been on the end of bad decisions.

    “It is a feeling of disappointment that we are always being punished and it is difficult to control the players with this feeling because they felt they worked hard and not got what they deserved.”

    Asked whether he thought it was appropriate for the club to complain about the appointment of officials before a match, the Forest boss said: “I prefer not to answer if it is appropriate.

    “It’s a feeling and trying to avoid what happened today and not raise any more suspicions or thoughts that no-one wants. It is about preventing.”

    It is not the first time Forest have been incensed with refereeing decisions, and as a result they appointed former official Mark Clattenburg as a consultant analyst to fight their corner.

    Writing in the Daily Mail, Clattenburg described the three decisions as “a joke” and said Forest had been subjected to “some egregious refereeing” this season.

    He added: “You will have seen the statement released by the club — how the PGMOL were contacted to warn that it was not appropriate for a Luton fan such as Attwell to play such a pivotal role in a massive match that would impact the relegation race.

    “Certainly, I would not have risked this situation if I were the head of the referees and all of this could have been avoided had the PGMOL simply made smarter appointments.

    “Referees do not make mistakes deliberately but this was mind-boggling to watch. Why Attwell did not send Taylor to his screen, only he will know.”

    The PA news agency understands the Football Association is aware of the post and is investigating. PA has also contacted the PGMOL for comment.

    Amid the furore, Everton moved five points clear of the relegation zone after goals in either half for Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil.

    The only downside to the day for the hosts was striker Beto being carried off after being knocked unconscious in a clash of heads.

    “He definitely came around and could understand what is going on, a good early sign,” Toffees boss Sean Dyche said.

    “It was fantastic how early the medical team came around, we hope for news over the next 24 to 48 hours.”

    The Everton manager was happy to have secured back-to-back home wins either side of Monday’s 6-0 humiliation at Chelsea.

    “It is very pleasing considering the madness of the current situation – two wins and two clean sheets in three games, sandwiched by a horrible performance,” he said.

    “The reaction was very important today.”

  • Man City players going ‘in the fridge’ to chill after busy week – Pep Guardiola Man City players going ‘in the fridge’ to chill after busy week – Pep Guardiola

    Pep Guardiola feels his Manchester City players will need to cool off “in the fridge” after their exertions of the past few days.

    City responded to last Wednesday’s draining penalty shootout loss to Real Madrid by digging in for a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Chelsea in their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday.

    The win, secured by a late goal from Bernardo Silva, maintained their hope of defending the domestic double but Guardiola later hit out at the scheduling of the fixture.

    The City boss felt his players should have been allowed more rest after their European game and he now intends to give them a break before they return to Premier League action at Brighton on Thursday.

    “In the fridge for two days,” said Guardiola when asked what his plans were for his squad ahead of the trip to the Amex Stadium.

    “Don’t see each other, stay at home with your families. Try to rest, nothing special.

    “Two days to prepare for Brighton and (Nottingham) Forest. One game at a time.”

    Guardiola clarified comments after the game suggesting he could boycott media duties over the issue.

    The Spaniard insisted he meant to say he would not have time to go above and beyond the usual obligations.

    “No, it’s Gary Lineker – come on!” he said, in reference to the host of Saturday’s BBC TV coverage.

    “If they ask for a photoshoot for the broadcasters, I’ll say no I’m busy, I don’t have time. It’s a joke for the future.

    “I always attend the media because I represent this institution. I’ve always done it and will always do it, but if they ask for extra then I don’t have time.

    “If you put me in a game every three days then the managers have a lot to do.”

    Guardiola also praised the character of Silva, who had been one of two City players to miss in the penalties in the defeat by Real. The Portuguese had also been close to being substituted shortly before scoring his 84th-minute winner.

    He said: “Always life gives you a second chance and he took it.

    “I was thinking of changing it and put Oscar (Bobb) on the right but, after the goal, Bernardo is so intelligent to keep the ball. So intuitive. In that moment I could not change him.

    “He was so tired but Bernardo has this special intelligence. I’m so happy, he deserves the best. They weren’t easy days for him.”

  • Erik ten Hag: Man Utd got away with it but Coventry scare is not ’embarrassment’ Erik ten Hag: Man Utd got away with it but Coventry scare is not ’embarrassment’

    Erik Ten Hag insisted he was not embarrassed but admitted Manchester United “got away with it” after edging past Championship Coventry on penalties in their FA Cup semi-final.

    The Premier League outfit were given an almighty scare at Wembley on Sunday as the second-tier side fought back from 3-0 down and then had a late extra-time winner disallowed for a marginal offside.

    A thrilling contest ended 3-3 after 120 minutes and it was United who ultimately prevailed, 4-2 on spot-kicks, to set up a repeat of last year’s final against rivals Manchester City.

    It was another highly unconvincing performance by United – which may have increased the pressure on under-fire manager Ten Hag – but the Dutchman tried to highlight the positives.

    Ten Hag said: “I can’t say that word (embarrassment) because, at the end of the day, it’s about the achievement.

    “I see the mistakes we make – we can’t look away from it – but it’s not an embarrassment. It’s a huge achievement.

    “Even the big team from United, a decade ago, only achieved the final three times. We now have two times in two years. So that’s a good performance.

    “I see we can play in very high levels but in the same match we can also go very low. That’s not explainable. It has to do with managing the game.

    “I have to teach my players, clearly. We have to do better in such occasions.

    “On several occasions we’ve let the result slip away but today we got away with it.”

    United had looked to be cruising past an apparently inferior opponent as they opened up a handsome lead with goals from Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes.

    Yet the Sky Blues, who are eighth in the Championship, pulled one back through Ellis Simms on 71 minutes and then threw caution to the wind.

    Callum O’Hare pulled another back with a deflected strike and Haji Wright sent the game into extra time with a stoppage-time penalty after handball by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

    Both sides hit the bar in extra time before Victor Torp thought he had snatched a dramatic winner in the closing minutes, only for VAR to rule Wright fractionally offside in the build-up.

    Despite the heartbreaking manner of the loss, Sky Blues manager Mark Robins insisted there was no feeling of injustice.

    The former United striker said: “If it’s the right call, it’s the right call. I think he was a toenail offside, which is disappointing. Had he cut his toenail, we wouldn’t be talking about penalties.

    “This FA Cup run will be spoken about, certainly in Coventry City circles, for a long, long time.

    “Whilst I’m disappointed for everybody, we can’t be too down about it. We’ve gone toe to toe with Manchester United, come back from 3-0 down and almost won it with a fourth, then lost it in a shoot-out, which can happen.

    “We performed like Manchester United for that last half-hour and that’s what I’m most proud of.

    “This club has been in the doldrums for so long but we’re certainly out of that period. We’ve just got to keep moving it forward, which is why we won’t feel sorry for ourselves.”

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