Rumour Has It: Man City waiting before opening Messi talks, Haaland Barcelona's ideal signing

By Sports Desk February 20, 2021

Manchester City are reportedly yet to begin talks over a move for Lionel Messi, while Erling Haaland is Barcelona's ideal signing.

Messi's future continues to be a major talking point as the star's contract at Barcelona expires at the end of the season.

City have been one of the clubs most strongly linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, but it seems the Premier League giants are waiting.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY YET TO BEGIN MESSI TALKS

Manchester City are yet to open talks with Lionel Messi, according to ESPN.

The report says City will wait until the Argentina international has decided his Barcelona future before considering negotiations.

It comes after claims the Premier League side had already tabled an offer to Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

- Erling Haaland is wanted by numerous European giants. Mundo Deportivo reports the Borussia Dortmund star would be Barcelona's ideal signing, but the LaLiga side are considering more affordable options.

- Manchester United were seemingly keen to land Barcelona forward Ansu Fati last year. Mundo Deportivo says a £129.7million (€150m) bid from United for the 18-year-old was rejected ahead of 2020-21.

- With Tottenham slipping to ninth in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has come under fire. ESPN reports Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will wait until the end of the season to make a decision on the head coach.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Gianluigi Donnarumma is yet to agree to a new deal with Milan. 90min claims the 21-year-old wants to succeed Manchester United shot-stopper David de Gea as the highest paid goalkeeper in the world, although he is prepared to take reduced terms at Milan.

- Thierry Henry could be set to take over at Bournemouth. talkSPORT reports the Championship club have requested permission from CF Montreal, where Henry is currently in charge, to talk to the Arsenal great.

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    Steven Bergwijn inspired Tottenham to a stunning late 3-2 win over Leicester City on Wednesday and Antonio Conte appears to have no intention of allowing him to leave.

    Bergwijn has been consistently linked with a move away from Spurs, with Ajax and Sevilla said to be among those interested in the forward.

    However, he rescued Spurs from their first Premier League defeat under Conte in remarkable circumstances at the King Power Stadium.

    Patson Daka put the Foxes in front against the run of play, but Harry Kane's 250th club goal of his career brought Spurs level in a pulsating first half.

    James Maddison looked to have consigned Tottenham to defeat as Spurs boss when he restored Leicester's lead 14 minutes from time.

    But Bergwijn provided an incredible twist in the tale, coming off the bench to strike in the 95th minute and again in the seventh minute of stoppage time to move Spurs above fierce rivals Arsenal into fifth place.

    Asked about the Netherlands international, Conte said: "In the past when someone asks me about Steven Bergwijn, I was very clear.

    "I said that for me he is an important player because he has characteristics that in our squad we don't have many creative players.

    "He is very good in one vs one, good to beat the man. He can play striker, he can play number 10 and for us, for me, he is an important player and we have to try to improve, to become stronger, not to lose a player and become less strong.

    "Steven is a player that if he's in good physical condition and he has good fitness, he can start the games or he can come in and change the game.

    "For me, I think he's an important player and you know very well the player has to be happy and I think the player is happy to stay with us and play for Tottenham."

  • Man Utd 'destroyed' by Brentford in first half and only deserved a draw - Frank Man Utd 'destroyed' by Brentford in first half and only deserved a draw - Frank

    Manchester United were "destroyed" in the first half of their 3-1 win over Brentford, with Thomas Frank claiming they only deserved a draw at most. 

    United failed to register a single shot on target in the opening period in west London on Wednesday, while David de Gea was forced into three saves from Mathias Jensen and Ethan Pinnock. 

    After Cristiano Ronaldo sent a header against the crossbar at the start of the second half, Anthony Elanga put the Red Devils ahead with their first shot on target. 

    Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford put United out of sight and secured a 300th Premier League away victory for the club, with Ivan Toney netting a late consolation for Brentford. 

    "Unbelievably proud of my team. I think we are the smallest club in the Premier League, Manchester United are probably the biggest. The way we played in the first half, I think we destroyed them," Frank told BT Sport. 

    "We should have been up at least 2-0, they didn't have a sniff, nothing. We created five, six chances and three huge chances. Man United deserved a maximum of a draw. I think they are unbelievably lucky. 

    "Of course you need to take your chances, I know all that c**p. But the performance, I'm proud of that. They changed the system against little Brentford. I'm so, so proud of my team. 

    "[It was] one of those nights, it's football. Fair play to De Gea, a very good performance. If we get those chances again one will go in the back of the net. 

    "Our intensity killed them, we showed that in the first half. We pressed them, when we had to we defended low, we won the second balls, we played behind and ran behind them. We played the Brentford way in the first half. 

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  • Rangnick not concerned about Ronaldo tantrum Rangnick not concerned about Ronaldo tantrum

    Ralf Rangnick was not overly concerned about Cristiano Ronaldo's reaction to being substituted in Manchester United's 3-1 win at Brentford.

    United claimed their first Premier League victory of 2022 on Wednesday, with Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford getting the goals before a late Ivan Toney consolation.

    The visitors were fortunate to not trail at the break but produced a hugely improved display in the second half, with Ronaldo playing a part in Greenwood's goal as he chested the ball into Bruno Fernandes' path before he squared to the 20-year-old.

    Greenwood and Ronaldo were withdrawn nine minutes later, with Rashford and Harry Maguire entering the pitch as Rangnick changed to a back five.

    Ronaldo appeared annoyed as he headed off and that displeasure continued to emanate after sitting in the dugout, the striker seen seemingly asking Darren Fletcher why they had chosen to withdraw him.

    In the aftermath of Rashford's goal, Rangnick could be seen having a word in Ronaldo's ear, the situation appearing to be defused.

    "It's normal, as a striker he wants to score goals," Rangnick told BT Sport before going on to explain his decision.

    "He came back from a little injury, so for me, it was also important to bear in mind we also have another game in three days' time.

    "On the other hand, we were 2-0 up, the same score as at Villa Park, and I decided to make sure we defended that lead this time and I think it was the right decision to switch to a back five.

    "We scored the third goal, we would have wanted to keep the clean sheet but unfortunately we didn't manage that, but at least we made sure nothing more happened."

    United were indebted to David de Gea's performance as he made seven saves over the course of the match, increasing his season total to 81 – 11 more than any other Premier League goalkeeper.

    The Spaniard's form has been exceptional this season, with his 6.2 'goals prevented' being the best figure among keepers in the top flight.

    Rangnick acknowledged United fell well short of expectations in the first half, before paying tribute to De Gea's brilliant form.

    Asked if he had to get tough at half-time, Rangnick said: "I wouldn't say a strong conversation [was had] but obviously we had to change a few things.

    "In the first half we were not good in almost all aspects of the game: sloppy passing, not strong enough in the 50:50 situations, we gave away almost every second ball.

    "Then in the second half we were more urgent, attacking them higher up the pitch and making the right decisions when on the counter, and we scored – this was the big difference."

    On De Gea's display, he added: "He's been doing that for the last couple of weeks. Brilliant saves in the first half, [he's] one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now I'd say."

    Victory for United moved them on to 35 points, level with Arsenal in sixth, though the Gunners have played one match less.

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