MLB

Rumour Has It: Man City plot move for Barcelona's De Jong

By Sports Desk October 26, 2021

Manchester City had a relatively quiet off-season in the transfer market.

City landed Jack Grealish from Aston Villa in a big-money move but failed in their efforts to sign Tottenham star Harry Kane following Sergio Aguero's exit.

But the Premier League champions could be more active in the January transfer window.

 

TOP STORY – CITY PLAN FOR DE JONG SWOOP

Manchester City are plotting a move for Barcelona star midfielder Frenkie de Jong, according to Calciomercato.

De Jong, who also has interest from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, signed a five-year deal with Barcelona effective from July 2019, tying him down to 2024.

The 24-year-old Netherlands international has made 11 appearances in all competitions this season and is yet to score.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims Manchester United have made no official proposal for former Chelsea and Inter boss Antonio Conte yet amid doubts over the future of Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following Sunday's 5-0 rout at the hands of Liverpool. Zinedine Zidane and Ajax's Erik ten Hag are also possible options.

- Manchester United's wantaway Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek is preparing to make a January move with Voetbal International claiming he has swapped agents. EvertonNewcastle United and Juventus are all interested in Van de Beek, per Metro.

Paris Saint-Germain will switch their attention to Bayern midfielder Corentin Tolisso if they cannot secure a move for Manchester United's Paul Pogba, reports Calciomercato. Pogba has also been linked with Juve and Real Madrid.

Newcastle and Juve are contending to sign Barca forward Ousmane Dembele, according to Sport. Dembele is set to exit Barca at the end of this season and his agent has reportedly been in touch with both clubs about a move, while Liverpool and United are also possible destinations.

 

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  • Prince, Leon on target as reigning Olympic champions Canada blank Reggae Girlz 2-0 in first-leg playoff Prince, Leon on target as reigning Olympic champions Canada blank Reggae Girlz 2-0 in first-leg playoff

    Jamaica...0

    Canada...2

    Prince (18th), Leon (90+2)

    Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz dreams of an historic Olympic Games qualification is all but up in smoke, as they suffered a 0-2 defeat to Canada in their first-leg playoff encounter at the National Stadium on Friday. 

    Goals from Nichelle Prince in the 18th and the menacing Adriana Leon in the 90+2 minutes was enough to lift the Bev Priestman-coached reigning Olympic champions to a crucial advantage heading into Tuesday's second leg which will be played before a sold-out crowd at BMO Field in Toronto.

    For Lorne Donaldson and his Girlz it will be a case of pulling off the improbable win in a hostile environment, if they are to progress.

    The Girlz started out fairly disciplined, as they were quick on the ball and did well to contain Canada in the early exchanges. 

    In fact, the Girlz looked more threatening in opening play, but their first real chance in the final third came from Deneisha Blackwood’s teasing 10th-minute free kick, which had to be mopped up by the Canadian defenders. 

    Such was the Girlz discipline when they gradually gained the ascendancy that Canada was hardly allowed to play their usual fluent passing game to get into the final third.

    Instead, they were on the back foot and almost found themselves a goal down in the 14th minute. This, as Jody Brown was sent on the break by Atlanta Primus, but the diminutive forward’s shot was charged down by a defender. 

    All the Reggae Girlz hard work was undone in the 18th when poor positioning by Blackwood allowed Ashley Lawrence to slip further down the right channel and deliver a weighted cross, which was expertly headed in by Prince, giving Rebecca Spencer no chance at a save.

    Still, the Girlz fought on and again went close in the 29th courtesy of Brown, who orchestrated a tidy build up and picked out Cheyna Matthews on the left, but the run amounted to nothing.

    Matthews again went on the break five minutes later, as she shook her defender and should have initially struck a left footer, but was hesitant in doing so. When she belatedly got a shot off her favoured right foot, her marker had already recovered and averted the danger.

    Though the score remained unchanged at half-time, the Jamaicans seemingly failed to recover from the manner in which they ended the first half. A defensive lapse immediately on the resumption allowed Leon through on goal and it took a tidy save from Spencer to deny her.

    Canada again went close from the resulting corner with Prince's effort from the top of the 18-yard box rattling the crossbar. 

    By virtue of pushing a high line in their probe for the equalizer, the Girlz absorbed some amount of pressure from Canada's break, as Leon got by Konya Plummer a couple of times but found Spencer in her way.

    The Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper did her utmost best to keep the Girlz in the game as she was again called upon when Cloe Lacasse got away down the left channel in the 64th and struck a left-footed effort which Spencer had to parry at her near post.

    The Girlz had their best chance of the second half a minute later when substitute Tiffany Cameron’s shot from a rebound went just over the crossbar, after Khadija “Bunny” Shaw's initial effort was thwarted by Vanessa Gilles. 

    But just when the moderate turnout in the stadium may have harboured a glimmer of hope that the Girlz would pull one back, Leon broke their hearts with a cheeky finish at Spencer’s near post from a Julia Grosso cross to put Canada 2-0 up.

    Despite being down, the Jamaicans continued the push to at least reduce the deficit, but when Plummer fired a tame left-footed effort straight at Canada’s goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, deep inside added time, it all but summed up their lukewarm evening.

    Teams: Jamaica -Rebecca Spencer, Allyson Swaby, Konya Plummer, Tiernny Wiltshire, Deneisha Blackwood, Vyan Sampson, Drew Spence, Jody Brown (Solai Washington 55th), Atlanta Primus (Kayla McKenna 71st), Cheyna Matthews (Tiffany Cameron 55th), Khadija Shaw

    Subs not used: Sydney Schneider, Liya Brooks, Sashana Campbell, Chantelle Swaby, Kameron Simmonds, Olufolasade Adamolekun, Trudi Carter, Shaneil Buckley, Paige Bailey-Gayle

    Booked: None

    Canada -Kailen Sheridan, Sydney Collins, Kadeisha Buchanan, Rebecca Quinn, Ashley Lawrence (Gabby Carle 82nd), Vanessa Gilles, Nichelle Prince (Jordyn Huitema 64th), Jessie Fleming (Julia Grosso 79th), Adriana Leon, Cloe Lacasse, Jade Rose (Shelina Zadorsky 79th)

    Subs not used: Lysianne Proulx, Sabrina D'Angelo, Olivia Smith, Marie-Yasmine Alidou, Evelyne Viens, Christine Sinclair, Simi Awujo, Bianca St-Georges 

    Booked: Gillies (54th), Grosso (90+5)

    Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva (USA)

    Assistant referees: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA); Felisha Mariscal (USA)

    Fourth official: Natalie Simon (USA)

    Match Commissary: Techell McLean (SKN)

  • Erik ten Hag seeking solution to Manchester United’s defensive dilemma Erik ten Hag seeking solution to Manchester United’s defensive dilemma

    Erik ten Hag admits he is at a loss to explain Manchester United’s poor defensive performances.

    The Red Devils have conceded 14 goals in their last five games and 10 in the last three, with three goals against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday not enough even to earn them a point.

    United boss Ten Hag said: “We have shown that we can do it because last year we had the most clean sheets in the Premier League because of the team, because we defended very good as a team, so we have to get back to that standard.

    “Of course I am pushing the team and demanding from the team, and from the start of the season, but they are human beings, not robots, so, why they are not doing it, I try to find out and I try to give the solutions and try to motivate the players to do the job.

    “When you are in a period like we are in always as a manager you are asking yourself these questions. My job is to get them to do the job.”

    On United’s tendency to concede goals soon after a restart, Ten Hag added: “(We’re) not concerned but we are aware of it. Of course you can’t close your eyes for things like this so we coach the players, we coach the team in that fact.”

    Question marks have been raised about the attitude of United’s squad, with clips from the Bayern game apparently showing players not chasing back as hard as they might.

    Ten Hag does not believe a lack of willingness was to blame, though, saying: “It’s always a concern when we didn’t run but I think against Bayern it was not the case.

    “In certain situations yes so it’s also to recognise in which situation is it about they didn’t recognise it and didn’t make the right decisions or is it about willingness?

    “Against Spurs, we didn’t run too much. But I think against Bayern we did our best from physical outputs but we didn’t always run in the right moment.

    “If we bounced back like we did in Munich, you can’t say the spirit isn’t right. I think we have other problems than that.”

  • Ange Postecoglou points out the differences between himself and Mikel Arteta Ange Postecoglou points out the differences between himself and Mikel Arteta

    Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou is full of admiration for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, but fails to see many similarities between the pair.

    Postecoglou’s youthful Spurs side face the biggest test of his early reign on Sunday when they make the short trip to the Emirates for the first north London derby of the season.

    Second-placed Tottenham travel across the capital in high spirits but face an Arsenal team that are into a fifth season under Arteta, who also took over a club in the doldrums and has overseen a cultural change from top to bottom.

    While Postecoglou is at the start of the same type of rebuilding job at Spurs, he poked fun at suggestions he is alike his 41-year-old opposite number.

    He said: “I think Mikel has been outstanding, really strong right from the start by having a real vision for the football club and the club’s backed him, but I don’t think that’s unique.

    “I think Liverpool did the same with Jurgen (Klopp). Most clubs that end up having a successful period do it on the back of having a really clear idea of what they’re trying to create.

    “The only problem is that a lot of clubs jump at shadows at the first sign of things not progressing at the rate they were hoping to. Credit to Arsenal and credit to Mikel that they backed each other and they’re reaping the rewards of it but that’s not a blueprint for us to follow.

    “We’ve got our own blueprint. You don’t have to follow anyone else’s timescale, you don’t have to follow anyone else’s processes. What you’ve got to do is have a clear idea about what you want and provided along the way you see progress, stick to it.

    “In terms of similarities, I’m 58, he’s whatever (41). I’ve had 26 years, he’s five years into it. He’s managed in one country, I’ve managed in a few. I’m not sure how he’s got a great head of hair!

    “He’s a lot fitter than I am. I don’t know, there’s not a lot of threads I can sort of join between us. I wouldn’t say we’re opposites.

    “We’re different. Even in the way his team plays. Yes he does have a very attacking philosophy but it’s different from mine and that’s the beauty of the game. That’s what you love about it.

    “It’s why you can’t copy. If you’re an artist and you see a Picasso, yeah you can copy it, but it’s not going to be a Picasso is it? It’s the same with football.

    “You can see that somebody does something really well, but don’t bring your own personality into it. I have great admiration for the way he’s gone about things and how he’s stuck to his beliefs. It’s a credit to him.”

    Postecoglou did not claim to have any type of personal relationship with Arteta, but he did reveal a time when he got to view the Spaniard up close.

    The former Celtic boss watched Manchester City training not long after he was appointed manager at Yokohama, who are part-owned by the City Football Group.

    “I spent a week at City when I first got the Yokohama job because they were part of the group and were generous enough to invite me in,” he revealed.

    “I didn’t speak to anyone but I observed training and you could see then how passionate Mikel was about the game and that he was itching to get going and become a manager himself.

    “He’s had a different journey but he’s made the impact.

    “As I keep saying, there’s no real defined way to get here.”

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