Rumour Has It: Man City eye Inter's Skriniar as DC United target Modric

By Sports Desk January 07, 2020

With Manchester City's Premier League title defence in tatters and a mounting injury list in defence, Pep Guardiola's side need reinforcements.

Aymeric Laporte and John Stones have been struck down by injuries this season, leaving City with limited options in defence.

As Liverpool run away with the title, City are eyeing an Inter star to rebuild their central defence.

 

TOP STORY – CITY TARGETING SKRINIAR

Manchester City have set their sights on Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, according to The Mirror.

Premier League champions City have struggled with injuries in defence this season as rivals Liverpool charge towards the title.

City are reportedly ready to buy in January and Skriniar – also a target for LaLiga champions Barcelona and Real Madrid – is on the list.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic says MLS outfit DC United want to sign Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric after Wayne Rooney's exit.

Juventus are "still hopeful" of signing Paris Saint-Germain loanee Mauro Icardi, reports Calciomercato. Icardi left Inter for PSG at the start of the season, having been linked to Juve and Napoli.

- Sky Sports claims Manchester United are interested in Leicester City star James Maddison, but are aware a January transfer will be difficult. Sky Sports also says the Red Devils are chasing Lille's Boubakary Soumare, along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Madrid and Valencia.

Mario Gotze will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, according to Bild. Gotze's contract is set to expire and he has been unable to agree a new deal.

- TZ says Bayern Munich are interested in Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo, with the Bundesliga champions distancing themselves from RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann.

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    Gennaro Gattuso has confirmed Napoli could be without key defender Kalidou Koulibaly for next week's Champions League game against Barcelona.

    Injuries have hampered the Senegal international this season and he has only played one Serie A match since the turn of the year.

    Napoli head to Brescia on Friday before hosting Barca four days later in the first leg of their last-16 tie with the LaLiga champions.

    And Gattuso, whose side have won five of their past six games in all competitions, is unsure whether Koulibaly will be available.

    "We'll need to objectively see what he has," Gattuso told reporters on Thursday. "He has swelling, so we need to listen to how he feels. 

    "Right now I have opted, together with the medical staff, to keep him sidelined for seven to 10 days.

    "We will evaluate after that how he feels physically. He will tell us how he feels."

    Napoli's improved form has lifted them to ninth in Serie A but they are 12 points behind fourth-placed Atalanta in the race for Champions League qualification.

    Gattuso is staying focused on the trip to second-bottom Brescia - with Koulibaly not included in the Napoli squad - rather than allowing the looming Barca game to act as a distraction.

    "I haven't heard anyone talk about Barcelona," Gattuso added. "We haven't prepared for Barcelona yet. We have prepared for the match against Brescia. We will think about Barcelona on Saturday after the analysis of the match against Brescia."

    Napoli striker Fernando Llorente will miss the Brescia game due to flu.

  • Willian eager to remain in London as Chelsea contract nears expiration Willian eager to remain in London as Chelsea contract nears expiration

    Willian has hinted he will look to find another London-based club to play for if he and Chelsea do not agree to a contract extension, as he is desperate to remain in the English capital for family reasons.

    Brazil winger Willian has been at Chelsea since 2013, when he joined from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, and he has been a first-team regular for most of his time at Stamford Bridge.

    Willian has played in all but one of Chelsea's 26 Premier League games this term, despite becoming a target for criticism from some supporters, with Frank Lampard seemingly trusting of the 31-year-old.

    He claimed in December that contract talks have taken place regarding an extension beyond the end of the season, but with an agreement yet to be confirmed, doubt remains about his future, particularly after Chelsea agreed a deal to bring Ajax's Hakim Ziyech to the club in July.

    While Willian seems set on staying at Chelsea, he is also adamant about a desire to remain in London, potentially offering hope to other clubs in the area should he ultimately depart.

    Writing in a column for The Players' Tribune, Willian said: "I have played for Chelsea for more than six years now, and I can honestly say that I am very happy here.

    "If you ask my wife if she wants to leave London, she'll say no. My daughters feel the same way. Of course, Brazil is Brazil, right? It's our home, our culture. We always feel good when we go there on holiday and see family and friends, but London is my second home.

    "In fact, I recently passed a British citizenship test. Man, it was hard. It's British history in a nutshell. Some questions are so difficult that not even some of my British friends knew the answers!

    "As it turned out, I failed on my first two attempts, but got it on the third. I am now a British citizen!

    "So, London is where I want to stay. This is where I have my family, my church. I want my daughters to grow up here."

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    Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick is staying relaxed despite the uncertainty surrounding his future and wants to establish his own "philosophy" after his playing style was compared to that of Pep Guardiola.

    Flick took over from Niko Kovac in November after the Croatian was dismissed, and following an initial interim spell in charge, he was appointed head coach until the end of the season.

    Bayern were fourth in the Bundesliga when Kovac was sacked but have since risen to the summit, winning 13 of 16 matches in all competitions following the 5-1 thrashing at Eintracht Frankfurt that cost Flick's predecessor his job.

    But recent reports have claimed Flick is frustrated by Bayern's unwillingness to appoint him on a long-term basis before the end of the season, while other stories suggest he is attracting interest from rival clubs.

    Publicly, however, Flick insists he is at ease with his situation and not thinking about the future.

    "I live in the present. I just enjoy it," Flick told reporters on Thursday.

    "We try to do a good job. What comes next is in the stars. Bayern have a bit of peace and quiet, thinking about what they want to do in the future.

    "I concentrate on the here and now. If they are convinced, they will make a decision. If they then want another coach, the world will not end for me either.

    "I've never talked about that before. Bayern Munich are my employers. Everything else just distracts."

    Flick's rise to the top job at Bayern has facilitated an improvement not only in results but also the perception of their brand of football.

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    Yet while Flick sees the Manchester City boss as an inspiration, he wants to craft his own ideology.

    "Guardiola is the best coach, for me," Flick said. "I was able to get to know him during my time at the DFB [German Football Association].

    "The way in which he plays is an inspiration for many, also for me. But everyone has to have their own philosophy. In this respect, it's not derogatory [against Guardiola]."

    Bayern are next in action on Friday when they host basement side Paderborn.

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