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  • CITY LAUNCH WORLD RECORD MESSI BID?

     

    Manchester City are being linked with a host of new additions across the media today as the January gossip columns go into overdrive.

    Let’s start with the Sun, who claim City are prepared to pay £100 million for Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

    They believe City officials held talks with their Barcelona counterparts last month.

    And although no formal offer was lodged, City made it clear they were willing to break the world transfer record for the Argentine, who is widely considered to be the world’s greatest player.

    The report says: “Manchester City have told Barcelona: We will pay £100million to sign Lionel Messi.

    “SunSport understands negotiations between executives of both clubs were held at the end of last month to determine if a world record transfer is possible.

    “City did not make a formal bid for the five-time World Player of the Year, but made it clear they were not afraid of topping the global high of £89m that Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer.”

    “Barca have so far refused to name a price or even confirm they will sell Messi, who will turn 30 in June.

    “However, their willingness to listen to City has encouraged the Etihad hierarchy and the conversation was described as ‘positive’ by a source.”

    Meanwhile, James Ducker and Matt Law, writing in the Telegraph, believe Pep Guardiola is planning a major summer overhaul.

    They believe he will look to add at least five players to his ranks, including Southampton pair Ryan Bertrand and Virgil van Dijk and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

    They write: “It is possible City could attempt a double swoop on Southampton at the end of the season, with centre-half Virgil van Dijk already on their radar and left-back Bertrand highly rated by the club. Bertrand would fill a homegrown player slot for City and has already proved he can roam up and down the flank, as Guardiola demands from his full-backs. The 27-year-old joined Southampton from Chelsea and has matured into one of the best left-backs in the country along with Danny Rose, whom Tottenham Hotspur will not sell, despite Guardiola being an admirer of him and fellow Spurs full-back Kyle Walker.

    “Bertrand signed a new five-year contract with Southampton last summer, which means City would have to pay big money to get him and there is no prospect of him moving this month.

    “City are busy identifying targets for Guardiola’s planned overhaul and the club retain a strong interest in Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but will face stiff competition for the Gabon international, who scored the opening goal of the Africa Cup of Nations this week and has 20 goals in 22 matches for Dortmund this season. Real Madrid are also chasing Aubameyang, who, according to reports in Germany on Monday, Dortmund will not countenance selling for less than €70 million (£61.6 million).”

    And, finally, the Telegraph believe Tottenham will be without influential centre-half Jan Vertonghen when the two sides meet at the Etihad this weekend.

    The 29-year-old suffered the injury during Spurs’ impressive 4-0 win over West Brom at the weekend and looks unlikely to be fit in time to play against the Blues. 

    “Tottenham Hotspur are already resigned to being without Jan Vertonghen against Manchester City on Saturday amid fears of ankle ligament damage,” the report states.

    “The full results of a scan are expected on Tuesday but manager Mauricio Pochettino fully expects to be without the Belgian in the immediate future, leaving the option of returning to a back four or, more likely, asking Ben Davies or Kevin Wimmer to play on the left of the three-man defensive system that has been working so well.”

    That's all for today, Blues. Join us tomorrow for more media musings right here on ManCity.com. 

     

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  • Kenenisa Bekele Has Confirmed His Appearance At The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon On January 20

     

    Just over three months since running the second fastest marathon time in history, Ethiopian Olympic legend Kenenisa Bekele has confirmed his appearance at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 20.

    The three-time Olympic gold medalist stormed to victory in the Berlin Marathon in September crossing the finish line in 2h:03m:03s, just six seconds short of Dennis Kimetto’s world record (2h:02m:57s).

    And after voicing his disappointment at missing out on the world record, Bekele is targeting Dubai for the next chapter in his marathon running career. It will be his second appearance in the world’s richest marathon after an injury forced him to pull up on his Dubai debut in 2015.

    “It’s a massive boost to have Kenenisa confirmed for the 2017 staging of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “His performance in Berlin proves that he is now very comfortable at the distance and we know he has unfinished business in Dubai after dropping out here two years ago.”

    Read full story on: dubaimarathon

     

     

     

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  • Sir Mo Farah given 'wake-up call' with rare defeat at Edinburgh Cross Country

     

    Sir Mo Farah (centre) was competing for the first time since his knighthood  CREDIT: PA

    Sir Mo Farah has urged his supporters not to worry about a first competitive defeat by a fellow Briton in seven years, insisting it has given him a “wake-up call” following a poor training stint.

    A severely undercooked Farah struggled home in seventh place atSaturday’s Edinburgh Cross Country as British team-mate Callum Hawkins came within a whisker of victory, missing out by just one second to American Leonard Korir.

    Competing for the first time since he was knighted in the New Year Honours list, the defeat was Farah’s first against another British athlete since the same event in 2010, although he also finished behind boxer Anthony Joshua over 100 metres in the BBC television show Superstars after the London 2012 Olympics.

     Understandably downbeat after Saturday’s race, Farah revealed he was only “65 to 70 per cent” fit and was adamant he would use the poor performance as motivation.

    “It definitely fires me up,” he said. “It gives me a little wake-up call. “It shows me, no matter what, if you are Olympic champion, world champion, that if you haven’t done the work, you will get beat.

     

    “It’s as easy as that and the last couple of weeks haven’t gone as well as I wanted.

    Don’t worry. Mo knows.” MORE... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/athletics/2017/01/08/sir-mo-farah-given-wake-up-call-rare-defeat-edinburgh-cross/

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  • World Cup: Fifa to expand competition to 48 teams after vote

     

    The World Cup will be expanded to host 48 teams, up from 32, Fifa has decided.

    An initial stage of 16 groups of three teams will precede a knockout stage for the remaining 32 when the change is made for the 2026 tournament.

    The sport's world governing body voted through the change at a meeting in Zurich on Tuesday.

    The number of tournament matches will rise to 80, from 64, but the eventual winners will still play only seven games.

    More to follow.

     

     

     

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