Barcelona are expected to be major players in the January transfer market after a busy pre-season.

The 26-time Spanish champions are top of LaLiga at the World Cup break but crashed out of the Champions League.

The Blaugrana are still battling financial challenges, while they also have some unsettled players on their books.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLOTTING JANUARY GUNDOGAN MOVE

Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona are planning to move for Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan in January, with fears Franck Kessie may exit soon.

The Blaugrana are eager to bolster their midfield options and a move for Bernardo Silva appears difficult despite their ongoing interest.

As a result, Barca have turned to the Germany international, whose contract with City ends in mid-2023. The report also claims the Catalans could move for Leicester City's Youri Tielemans.

Kessie has been linked with Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Fulham by Spanish media outlet Sport. The Ivorian only joined in July, but the club's financial position means they are open to letting players go.

ROUND-UP

– Despite being linked with a long list of names, Sport claims Barcelona will only make one signing in the January transfer window, with a right-back seen as a priority. Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard and Villarreal's Juan Foyth are among their options.

– New Aston Villa heard coach Unai Emery wants to bring in Real Madrid's Eden Hazard and Nacho Fernandez, according to El Nacional. Spanish boss Emery left Villarreal for the Villans last month.

Juventus are ready to offer a new contract to French midfielder Adrien Rabiot, claims Tuttosport. Rabiot had been linked with an off-season move, with Manchester United mentioned as a possible destination, but has impressed this term.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Milan are putting together a bid for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in January. The Moroccan winger is expected to cost less than €20million (£17.5m).

Inter are keen on Valencia left-back Jesus Vazquez in January and a mid-2023 move for Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, reports La Gazetta dello Sport.

Barcelona have reportedly reignited their chase of Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva, and are said to be confident in their ability to get the deal done in January.

Silva, 28, has won four league titles with City since arriving at the club in 2017, and is enjoying another strong season after setting a new career-high with eight Premier League goals in the 2021-22 campaign.

The Portuguese international with 72 senior caps has two goals and five assists in his 12 league appearances this season, and has appeared in all six of City's Champions League group stage fixtures.

Barcelona have been linked with Silva for months, but after recent reports claimed they had moved on, a recent development has positively impacted the Spanish giants' financial situation and put the City star back on their radar.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA REVISIT CITY'S SILVA AFTER PIQUE RETIREMENT

According to Sport, the retirement of Gerard Pique has resulted in significantly improved financial flexibility for Barcelona, allowing them to revisit their long-standing interest in Silva.

The report claims City may be hesitant to part ways with a key contributor in the midst of a title chase, but that Silva had previously asked to leave the club before the failed sale of Frenkie de Jong muddied the waters.

Meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo adds Barcelona will look at 31-year-old Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez as their top choice to fill the defensive void left by Pique's departure.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting Chelsea are preparing to terminate the loan of Denis Zakaria, claiming they can not offer him regular starts and have no interest in activating the €28million buy clause in the deal.

– According to ESPN, Liverpool are the favourites ahead of Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United and City to land Borussia Dortmund phenom Jude Bellingham.

– The Leicester Mercury is reporting Leicester City will not allow Youri Tielemans to leave during the January transfer window, despite his contract expiring at the end of the season.

Milan are keeping a close eye on 22-year-old Spezia centre-back Jakub Kiwior, with Gazzetta dello Sport reporting they could make a move in January.

– According to La Razon, Aston Villa manager Unai Emery is interested in 25-year-old centre-back Pau Torres, who he coached at Villarreal.

Bernardo Silva can help Manchester City go top of the Premier League table with a win at Leicester City, while Aleksandar Mitrovic should also get the nod in your fantasy team this week.

Silva only came off the bench in City's goalless Champions League draw at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, so he should be fresh at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Mitrovic made it three top-flight goals in as many games in Fulham's win at Leeds United last weekend and can add to his tally for the season of nine when Everton visit Craven Cottage this weekend.

David Raya could earn you some points when Brentford face struggling Wolves, while Arsenal will need a win against Nottingham Forest to return to the summit if City are victorious and Ben White can help them keep a clean sheet.

Stats Perform use Opta data to pick out the men you should be looking at selecting this weekend.

 

David Raya (Brentford v Wolves)

Only Nick Pope and Ederson (both five) have kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Raya.

No team has scored fewer than Wolves' five goals this season and they also have the lowest shot conversion rate (3.45 per cent) along with the lowest goals differential of -8.01, with Opta having their expected goals tally at 13.01.

After suffering a 4-0 hammering at home to Leicester last weekend, it could be a painful trip to London for Wolves and Raya may be in for a quiet afternoon.

Ben White (Arsenal v Nottingham Forest)

Defender White can play a big part in bringing Forest back down to earth following their shock win over Liverpool.

Playing as right-back for the Gunners this season, White has provided two assists in his past four appearances - including one in the draw at Southampton last Sunday.

Kenny Tete and Kostas Tsimikas (both three) are the only defenders to have provided more assists in the competition this season and Arsenal will fancy their chances of ensuring Forest fire a blank.

Bernardo Silva (Leicester City v Manchester City)

Silva has already registered five assists in the Premier League for the champions this season.

The Portugal international averages an assist every 160 minutes he has been on the field this season, which is the best rate he has achieved since arriving at the club.

Silva has also scored twice and can cause lowly Leicester all sorts of problems.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham v Everton)

Only Erling Haaland (54.4) and Anthony Martial (52.5) have a better minutes per goal ratio than Mitrovic in the Premier League this season.

The Serbia striker is on a roll and could score in four consecutive league games for the second time in the 2022-23 campaign.

Third on the list of highest Premier League scorers this season behind Haaland (17) and Harry Kane (10), Mitrovic can ensure the Toffees come unstuck following their win over Crystal Palace.

Bernardo Silva does not think Manchester City should have had a goal disallowed in Sunday's defeat to Liverpool as the midfielder criticised referee Anthony Taylor for a lack of consistency.

City suffered their first league defeat of the season as they fell to a 1-0 loss at Anfield, with Mohamed Salah scoring a brilliant second-half winner.

Before that, Phil Foden had a goal wiped out following a VAR review, with referee Taylor urged to watch a replay on the pitchside monitor – a shirt-pull by Erling Haaland on Fabinho in the build-up led to the strike being disallowed.

That ultimately cost the champions a point, and Silva was particularly disgruntled by Taylor's decision given how he had refereed the game until that moment.

He told Sky Sports: "What we expect from the referees is consistency in the decisions.

"When you go through a path of not whistling little contacts through the whole game, you need to keep those decisions and keep going that way.

"If you want to whistle all of them, whistle all of them, but if from the beginning of the game you are not whistling all the little fouls, and we saw in this game the referee was letting us play, which is good, it's fine.

"Then, if there's a goal, you cannot whistle that soft one.

"If you want consistency from the referee, you cannot change just because there's a goal and just because it's a tough decision.

"You have to make the tough decision and keep the goal in my opinion."

Pep Guardiola is ignoring Liverpool's below-par start to the Premier League season ahead of Manchester City's trip to Anfield on Sunday, declaring: "Nothing changes what I feel about Liverpool."

City and Liverpool have finished as the Premier League's top two teams in three of the last four seasons, but the Reds trail the champions by 13 points after a poor start to the new campaign.

Liverpool's tally of 10 points is their lowest at this stage of a season since 2012-13 (nine), and Jurgen Klopp's team have already lost as many league games this campaign as they did throughout the entirety of last term (two).

That form represents quite the drop-off for a side who went tantalisingly close to a stunning quadruple in 2021-22, but Guardiola believes City will still face a stern test.

"I had the feeling at Anfield we have played really well [in the past]," Guardiola said on Friday. "It's different circumstances, but you have to behave at a top, top level. 

"In Anfield, winning or losing, we have behaved with an incredible personality. It's a football game, Liverpool is important because of the quality they have.

"Liverpool were going for a prestigious achievement of four titles. For two little details, they didn't achieve what no English team has done.

"I pay zero attention to them being in a good moment or bad moment. They know in the last years, we have fought for most of the competitions and titles, and it's been really close.

"We were a bit better, especially in the Premier League, but nothing changes what I feel about Liverpool."

Pushed on whether Liverpool remain title contenders, Guardiola said: "Liverpool have always been our biggest challengers, and they will be now. Being in the position that we are, with the World Cup, anything can happen."

City have picked up four points from their last two league trips to Anfield, just one fewer than they earned in their previous 17 visits to Liverpool (D5 L12).

Should Guardiola's men avoid defeat on Sunday, it will represent the first time they have done so in three consecutive away league games against Liverpool since December 1992.

City's efforts could be hampered by the absences of England trio Kalvin Phillips, John Stones and Kyle Walker, but Guardiola says Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva are raring to go after being rested at Copenhagen on Tuesday.

"John Stones will be back in, I don't know, maybe one week or 10 days. Kalvin is doing really well, but Kyle is out," Guardiola said.

"We have a lot of games, like all the teams. Players are recovering better. Erling could not play all the games last season. Bernardo was tired, but they feel good and are ready for Sunday."

Haaland has only played nine Premier League games for City, but he has already broken the records for most goals (15) and goal involvements (18) in a player's first 10 outings in the competition.

The Norwegian is just one goal away from matching the record for most goals scored by a player across any 10-game stint in Premier League history, set by former Liverpool attacker Luis Suarez – who from October to December 2013 scored 16 goals for the Reds.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly prepared to activate the €150million release clause in the contract of Milan forward Rafael Leao.

Leao, 23, has emerged as one of the top attacking players in the Serie A since arriving for €35million back in 2019, tallying a career-high 14 goals in all club competitions in the 2021-22 season before starting this campaign in blistering form.

The Portuguese star with 11 international caps has four goals and four assists from his first eight league games, as well as three assists from three Champions League fixtures, and it seems Paris Saint-Germain have seen enough to justify a substantial investment.

TOP STORY – PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN TO PULL THE TRIGGER ON MASSIVE LEAO RELEASE CLAUSE

French outlet Media Foot is reporting Paris Saint-Germain will return with bids for multiple big names they were unable to land in the past transfer window, and they could come in January.

The report mentions Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Luis Campos was responsible for bringing Leao to Lille in 2018, and as a result he has been monitoring the young talent for years.

With the futures of Lionel Messi and Neymar uncertain, Leao could represent the future of the club going forward, with Kylian Mbappe, and he is not the only big-money target mentioned in the report.

Paris Saint-Germain are said to also be returning with another offer to Inter for Milan Skriniar, and remain interested in Manchester City's Bernardo Silva.

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting Real Madrid have plans to replace Karim Benzema with City star Erling Haaland in 2024.

– According to The Independent, Manchester United are only going to make a move for one of Jude Bellingham or Frenkie de Jong, with the target yet to be decided.

– Liverpool's Naby Keita is a target for Barcelona, with the 27-year-old's contract set to expire at the end of this season.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli is demanding his wages be tripled before he agrees to a new contract.

– According to The i, Newcastle United are preparing bids for Leicester City midfielder James Maddison and Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby.

Jude Bellingham is attracting plenty of admirers with his impressive performances for Borussia Dortmund and England.

The 19-year-old midfielder joined Dortmund from Birmingham City in 2020.

Bellingham is contracted until 2025, but clubs are queueing up to sign the young prospect.

TOP STORY – BLUES JOIN QUEUE FOR BELLINGHAM

Chelsea are the latest club to join the race to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, reports the Telegraph.

Fabrizio Romano claims that Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Manchester United along with the Blues are all pursuing a deal for the teenager.

Romano reports that Dortmund are not in talks with any clubs yet, instead deferring any discussions and decision on a price tag until after the 2022 World Cup. The Telegraph claims that Bellingham will cost around £130 million (€145m).

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Mail reports Manchester City want assurances from Bernardo Silva that he will not push for a move at the end of this season following links with Barcelona during the last transfer window. City are said to be planning talks with Silva in the coming months.

– Barcelona are interested in Ilkay Gundogan, who has less than a year remaining on his Manchester City contract, reports Sport. The German midfielder, who turns 32 in October, has been with City since 2016.

– Karim Benzema and Real Madrid are close to agreeing to an extension on his contract, locking him down at the club until 2024, reports Italian journalist Nicolo Schira.

– Tuttosport claims Milan have offered Rafael Leao an improved contract worth €6million per season plus bonuses, as they attempt to fend off interest from Chelsea and Manchester City.

– The Sun claims Arsenal will make a January move for Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz after failing in an attempt to sign him on deadline day.

– Socceroos 18-year-old forward Garang Kuol has flown to England to sign with Newcastle United having reached an agreement with his Australian club Central Coast, claims Fabrizio Romano. Sky Sports reports that Kuol will be loaned out in January.

After last weekend's postponements, round seven of the Premier League is finally upon us, but continental fixtures midweek could throw a spanner into team selection.

Now over a month into the season, things are beginning to take shape as managers make it clear who is in and out of favour, while struggling teams may feel the need for drastic changes in an effort to get back on course.

Whether they start every game, or they have worked their way into consideration, this is the time of the year when players can stake their claim as key contributors for the long season ahead.

This week's Opta data points out a couple of playmakers who have shined coming off the bench, as well as some safe prospects in the back half who are at the centre of their teams' plans, and could make the difference in your Fantasy Football plans.

 

Nick Pope (Newcastle United v Bournemouth)

Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope is in fine form, boasting the most saves in the league this season with 28, while also owning the best save percentage (82.35 per cent) and being tied for the lead in clean sheets (three).

It is not just a small sample size, either. Since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, only Ederson (58) and Allison (45), widely considered the league's best two shot-stoppers, have kept more clean sheets than Pope's 38.

Also working in Pope's favour is the fact Bournemouth are one of six teams this season to average less than one goal per game, and have been held scoreless by Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Wolves.

Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest v Fulham)

Full-backs have always been a bit of a cheat code in fantasy football due to their ability to bank both clean sheets and a healthy dose of assists compared to centre-backs, and Nottingham Forest's Neco Williams is emerging as a quality creator of chances.

No Forest player has created more chances than the 21-year-old's nine – among defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold (13), Kieran Trippier (11) and Diogo Dalot (10) have crafted more. 

Williams has also played every minute of his side's six games so far. 

Bernardo Silva (Manchester City v Wolves)

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva is enjoying a rich run of form, with four goal involvements (two goals and two assists) from his past four matches.

City are the highest-scoring team in the Premier League this season with 20 in six games, and after coming off the bench in the first two fixtures of the season, Silva has now made four consecutive starts.

Silva's goal contributions have come from 1.33 expected goal involvements, with only team-mate Erling Haaland, Brentford's Ivan Toney and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino have outperformed their expected figure by more.

Richarlison (Tottenham v Leicester City)

After spending £60million this past transfer window to secure the 25-year-old from Everton, Tottenham awarded Richarlison with his first start in their last top-flight game against Fulham, and he came through with an assist and a disallowed goal.

It was his second assist from his past three games, after coming off the bench against Forest and teeing up Harry Kane.

Leicester City have been a team the Brazil forward, who scored his first two Spurs goals in a Champions League win over Marseille earlier in September, has feasted against during his time in the Premier League, with his five goals against the Foxes matching his best total against any team (also five against Southampton and Wolves).

Liverpool reportedly had a deadline-day bid for Moises Caicedo rejected by Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 20-year-old is hot property with a long list of suitors, after an impressive second half of last season in the Premier League.

Caicedo joined Brighton from Independiente del Valle in January 2021 on a four-and-half-year contract.

TOP STORY – BRIGHTON TO OPEN TALKS WITH CAICEDO

Brighton and Hove Albion will open contract talks with hot property Moises Caicedo according to The Mirror.

The Ecuadorian has interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

The Seagulls are determined to fend off those suitors by pinning Caicedo down to a new contract.


ROUND-UP

– Fichajes reports French giants Paris Saint-Germain will look to sign Antoine Griezmann after this season, as they begin planning for Lionel Messi's departure. Griezmann is currently on a two-year loan at Atletico Madrid from Barcelona. Messi is contracted until mid-2023 and view Griezmann as a suitable replacement if they cannot convince him to extend his stay.

Barcelona will resume their chase for Manchester City's Bernardo Silva in January, reports Sport. LaLiga has increased the club's salary cap, allowing them to pursue the Portuguese midfielder again.

– The Telegraph claims that among those under consideration for the vacant Brighton managerial role are ex-Shakhtar Donetsk boss Roberto de Zerbi and Bodo/Glimt's Kjetil Knutsen.

Carlo Ancelotti is set to be rewarded for his successful 2021-22 campaign with Real Madrid set to offer him a new contract, according to Marca. Ancelotti's current deal runs until 2024.

Bernardo Silva's mooted departure from Manchester City did not materialise as it was "no longer the right time" when a "concrete offer" was belatedly made, his father Paulo has said.

The Portugal international was strongly linked with an exit from the Etihad Stadium during the transfer window, with Barcelona heavily tipped as a potential destination.

But Silva ultimately stayed put with Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions, revealing afterwards a late bid had arrived from an unnamed suitor.

Silva suggested City's inability to recruit a replacement late in the window halted any move, and his father has added a transfer did not work "for everyone" at that point.

"There [were] a lot of conversations but not really a concrete offer in time that we thought could be made," Paulo Silva told Stats Perform at the FPF Football Talks 2022 in Lisbon.

"By the time these offers started to emerge, we realised that it was no longer the right time for everyone. If things were to happen, they would have happened rationally.

"So, it wasn't the ideal scenario for Bernardo when he's 28. He is a mature player. He still has time to give to football to learn and grow further. Things have to be done with rationality and not emotionality."

Silva has two goals and two assists in the Premier League this season, helping City remain unbeaten as they look to retain their title.

Bernardo Silva has declared he will be "staying in Manchester", putting an end to rumours the Manchester City midfielder would be moving to Barcelona.

Silva has been an integral part of City's success under Pep Guardiola since arriving from Monaco in 2017.

The Portugal international has won four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups and an FA Cup in England, though has been heavily linked with Barca in the past couple of years.

Despite seeming to indicate he would like to play for the LaLiga giants one day, Silva has confirmed he will not be making the move in this transfer window, which closes on Thursday.

After grabbing an assist in Wednesday's 6-0 thrashing by City of Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, the 28-year-old committed to his team, telling Spanish outlet RAC1: "I'm staying in Manchester, here. I'm happy and the decision has been made."

Silva has scored two goals in five league appearances so far this season for City, with three starts.

His goal in the 4-2 comeback win against Crystal Palace on Saturday was his 100th goal involvement for the club, with an even split of 50 goals and 50 assists, which became 101 on Wednesday in his 257th appearance with his assist for Joao Cancelo.

Pep Guardiola hailed Bernardo Silva as "irreplaceable" for Manchester City after the versatile midfielder instigated his side's 4-2 comeback win against Crystal Palace.

Erling Haaland stole the headlines with his 19-minute hat-trick at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, but it was Silva who gave City a lifeline at two goals down with a deflected strike.

The Portugal international also scored and assisted in the previous week's 3-3 draw at Newcastle United, with City battling back from a couple of goals behind on both occasions.

And having last week completely ruled out selling Silva to either Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain, Guardiola praised the 28-year-old for stepping up once again.

"I'm happy that Bernardo became a winning player," Guardiola said. "Of course the highlights [against Palace] will be of Erling. But we cannot forget what Bernardo did.

"He scored a goal and created opportunities down the right side in the second half.

"What amazes me about Bernardo is that when the game is going wrong he makes a step forward, he loves to play in this situation. He's comfortable with it. 

"Some players maybe step backward and he makes a step forward. That's why he is irreplaceable in many ways for us.

"He's so important for us. He can play in four or five positions. And it's not just on the pitch, it's off it too, in the locker room. I want him here so much."

Silva's 53rd-minute strike came after John Stones' own goal and a Joachim Andersen header put Palace in complete control at half-time.

Haaland took over with a quickfire treble on his second home appearance for the club, with that the ex-Borussia Dortmund striker's fourth hat-trick in Europe's top five leagues.

He is the fourth player to net at least six goals in his first four Premier League games after Diego Costa, City legend Sergio Aguero and Mick Quinn.

And Guardiola has been blown away by just how quickly the Norway international has settled in at his new club both on and off the field.

"What's important is he's a lovely guy, down to earth," Guardiola said. "We are completely in love with him. It's not just the goals, it's how happy he is. 

"I see his behaviour and his body language. You pay attention to the body language of the players and always his is in the right position.

"He's always there, encouraging the players, making incredible effort. He knows [the chances are] coming. He has an incredible sense of that."

City have now found themselves trailing by two goals in four of their past six Premier League games, as many as in their previous 84 combined.

The most famous example came on the final day of the previous campaign when hitting back to beat Aston Villa and land a fourth title in five seasons.

While City have become accustomed to doing things the hard way, Rodri accepts there are areas his side need to improve if they are to prevent giving teams a head start.

"We've shown we can do it," the midfielder said. "If it becomes a habit, it is easier so we're very happy but we have to fix some things.

"We cannot let this team score two goals from nothing. We have to watch out. 

"We were talking that last season we conceded one goal from set-pieces for the whole of last season and now we have conceded two in one game. We have to improve in this.

"Sometimes it is not about tactics, it is about talking with the lads [at half-time] and being patient."

Liverpool's hunt for midfield reinforcements is heating up, with the club reportedly investigating the possibility of bringing in Borussia Dortmund's England star Jude Bellingham in the January window.

As well as a Bellingham deal – which would likely have to exceed £100million – the Reds are also weighing up potential moves for Wolves' Ruben Neves and RB Leipzig's Konrad Laimer.

Football Insider is reporting Liverpool and Dortmund have reached a "verbal agreement" on a price for Bellingham, although the Bundesliga club has been consistent with their stance that they want to hold onto him for this season.

Laimer, on the other hand, only has one more year on his contract, and has told Leipzig he will not sign an extension, making him the most likely of the three to be on the move.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL LOOK AT LAIMER AND NEVES

Laimer, 25, is coming off a season with four goals and four assists in 26 Bundesliga games, and has shown he can produce against quality opposition, with a goal and two assists from his home and away fixtures against Bayern Munich.

The 90min report believes Laimer may be angling for a move to the Bundesliga champions after proving himself against them, but Liverpool could try and take him to Anfield.

Meanwhile, Wolves have been able to fend off interest for Neves from fellow Premier League clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal, but with two years left on his deal, now would be the time to cash in if his long-term future is not at Molineux.

 

ROUND UP

– The Mirror are reporting if Antony leaves Ajax , the Eredivisie champions will try to land Aston Villa's Anwar El Ghazi as a replacement.

– According to Sky Sports, Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has told the club he wants to be sold to Manchester   United .

– The Sun claims Chelsea are considering terminating Ross Barkley's contract, which pays him £200,000 per week.

Barcelona are working on moves for Bernardo Silva and Marcos Alonso , according to the Daily Mail. 

– talkSPORT report  West Ham are in talks with Adnan Januzaj to bring the 27-year-old back to the Premier League, as he is available on a free transfer after leaving Real Sociedad.

Erling Haaland's scored a hat-trick as Manchester City once again fought back from two down, beating Crystal Palace 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's men found themselves trailing by two goals for the fourth time in six Premier League matches, but they stormed back to defeat Palace.

Eberechi Eze had a role in both goals as Palace raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to John Stones' own goal and Joachim Andersen's bullet header, leaving a blunt City side stunned at the interval.

But the excellent Bernardo Silva began the comeback by halving the deficit just after half-time before Haaland took over, completing the turnaround with a pair of poacher's finishes and a third clinical strike for the champions.

City had an uphill task early on, as Eze's free-kick delivery deflected off Kyle Walker and found its way in off Stones.

The hosts' response was hardly emphatic, and they found themselves two down by the 21st minute for the first time in the league since December 2010.

Another Eze set-piece – this time a corner – teed up a powerful header into the bottom-left corner from Andersen, who easily evaded Walker.

Silva looked City's biggest threat and was unsurprisingly the one to pull a goal back in the 53rd minute, cutting in from the right and seeing a low strike flicked past Guaita by Jeffrey Schlupp.

City levelled just past the hour as Haaland beat his marker to head Phil Foden's cross in from close range, before then putting them in front with a tap-in 20 minutes from time.

He slotted past Guaita to complete his hat-trick and cap a fine second-half City display after brilliantly holding off his marker.

Pep Guardiola is adamant Bernardo Silva will stay at Manchester City beyond the end of transfer window, as he revealed the club are yet to receive a formal offer for the versatile midfielder.

Silva had been strongly linked with a move to LaLiga giants Barcelona after stating that City "know what I want" earlier this month.

However, recent reports suggested Paris Saint-Germain had made a £59million (€69.7m) bid for the 28-year-old, who scored the equaliser in City's 3-3 draw at Newcastle United last Sunday.

Silva impressed as he scored 13 goals and added seven assists in 50 appearances for City last season, and Guardiola did little to play down talk of a move when he revealed the midfielder "likes Barcelona very much" this week.

But speaking ahead of Saturday's fixture against Crystal Palace, Guardiola offered his clearest declaration yet on Silva's future, insisting: "He will stay here, absolutely.

"We didn't have any phone calls from any club regarding Bernardo Silva. That's why he will stay."

Asked whether any late move for Silva would leave City in a difficult position as they attempted to source a replacement, Guardiola said: "Yeah, but I tell you, he will stay." 

City have added Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Sergio Gomez and Stefan Ortega to their squad since winning their fourth Premier League title in five years in May, while Julian Alvarez has arrived from River Plate, and Guardiola is more than happy with their business.

"I am always satisfied," he declared. "Now I start my seventh year [at the club]. I am always satisfied with the squad I have. I have no complaints."

Meanwhile, marquee signing Haaland, who has found the net three times in his first three Premier League outings, is set to return to former club Borussia Dortmund after City were drawn to face the Bundesliga outfit in the Champions League group stages.

City will also face Sevilla and Copenhagen when their continental campaign kicks off, and Guardiola says he is yet to discuss the trip to Dortmund with Haaland, adding: "I didn't speak with him, but I guess he will be happy to go back where he was so important. 

"The draw is the draw, it is what it is. We don't have much time, but we have time to start to know them more deeply, and hopefully we can go through."

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