Nottingham Forest Opinion: Arijanet Muric could push Pantilimon for the No.1 role at the City Ground
According to Nottinghamshire Live, Nottingham Forest have been credited with an interest in Man City shot-stopper Arijanet Muric, with reports claiming that manager Martin O’Neill is keen to add another goalkeeper to his ranks this summer.
Nottinghamshire Live understands that Martin O’Neill and Forest’s goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh watched the 20-year-old in action for Kosova against Bulgaria last weekend and they were left impressed by the youngster’s performance in his nation’s 3-2 triumph.
The same source claims that Man City manager Pep Guardiola is open to sending Muric out on loan this summer to allow him to gain more first-team exposure in the Championship.
Born in Switzerland to parents of Kosovan heritage, Muric played for Grasshoppers and FC Zurich at the youth level before joining Man City’s youth ranks back in 2015.
The youngster was pretty much an unknown entity prior to the last season but he is currently regarded as one of the brightest emerging prospects in the ranks at the Etihad.
Muric was initially shipped out on loan to Eredivisie side NAC Breda last summer but Man City recalled after a month to act as the understudy to No.1 Ederson Moraes following a long-term injury to veteran Claudio Bravo.
The 20-year-old earned his first-team debut for the Citizens in the victory over Oxford United in the third round of the 2018-19 EFL Cup and he subsequently went on to feature in five games in that competition before being replaced by Ederson in the finals, as City claimed silverware at the cost of Chelsea.
Muric was the penalty-shootout hero in the quarter-final victory against Leicester City and his goalkeeping heroics earned him plenty of plaudits from the fans and pundits alike.
Having featured initially for Montenegro at the U-21 level, Muric switched his international allegiance to Kosovo and made his senior international debut against Azerbaijan in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League. His metaphoric rise at Man City has seen him cement his place as the No.1 for Kosova on the international front and one would expect him to continue in that role for years to come.
To put things into perspective, Nottingham Forest might have missed out on a playoff spot in the Championship this past season but they finished the campaign with one of the best defensive records in the division.
Their tally of 61 goals wasn’t enough for them to make the cut to the playoffs, and while O’Neill needs to add more firepower to his attack following the departure of loanees Diogo Goncalves and Gil Dias, bringing in Arijanet Muric on loan won’t do Forest much harm.
Costel Pantilimon was the undisputed No.1 between the sticks at the City Ground the last term and the Romanian international enjoyed a good run with the gloves, registering as many as 15 clean sheets in 44 outings. 34-year-old Luke Steele made 7 appearances in all competitions but it is clear from O’Neill’s interest in Muric that he wants to provide Pantilimon with more competition.
Having featured in the Premier League for Man City, Sunderland and Watford earlier in his career, Pantilimon continues to be one of the high-profile shot-stoppers in the Championship.
However, Muric has also shown strong signs of promise at Man City and he certainly has the quality to challenge the 32-year-old for a first-team role next season, whilst Forest can also look at him as a useful back-up and an upgrade on Steele.
Either way, increasing competition for places between the sticks should not hurt Forest.
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To conclude, this is a deal that looks likely to happen and Forest should definitely go ahead with this one in a bid to add more depth and quality to their goalkeeping options.
Man City shelling out £5m to activate this former player’s buyout clause would provide excellent competition for Mendy – Agreed?
Man City Opinion: Citizens should activate Angelino’s buy-back clause to ensure quality competition for Mendy
According to Manchester Evening News, reigning Premier League champions Man City are set to bring left-back Angelino back to the Etihad this summer, with reports claiming that the Citizens are considering activating the buy-back clause that they had inserted in the Spaniard’s deal.
Angelino sealed a permanent £5 million move to Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven only last summer but Manchester Evening News suggests that the Citizens, who are well aware of his talent and potential, had inserted a clause in his deal which would enable them to bring him back for a fee of around £5 million.
The same source claims that Man City are impressed by the 22-year-old’s rapid development in the Netherlands at PSV Eindhoven and are willing to offer him a chance in their first-team next season, while French champions PSG have also been linked with the highly-rated left-back.
Angelino accumulated as many as 12 assists in 43 appearances for the Dutch heavyweights in all competitions this past season, also featuring prominently in the club’s Champions League campaign, which ended prematurely in the group stages.
The 22-year-old’s scintillating run for form hasn’t gone unnoticed and, as the reports suggest, he might as well be forced to head back to England just after a single season at PSV.
The Spanish U21 international played for Deportivo La Coruna at the youth ranks before joining City’s youth set up in 2012. Angelino featured largely for the club’s youth and reserve sides and spent time on loan at New York City, Girona, Mallorca and NAC Breda.
The talented youngster was eventually handed his first-team debut against Aston Villa in the FA Cup in 2016 and went on to make a total of 3 competitive appearances for the Citizens, featuring in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League and also in the EFL Cup.
However, it was pretty apparent that he needed more time to further his development before having a realistic chance of nailing down a regular starting role at City.
Well, it looks as though the left-back has finally managed to impress upon the City hierarchy with his scintillating run of form in the Dutch top-flight this past season.
Realistically speaking, it makes a lot of sense for Man City to bring the Spaniard back to the Etihad this summer, given that lack of stability on the left-hand side of the backline was one of the big talking points from the club’s domestic treble-winning campaign last term.
Benjamin Mendy started off with a bang in the earlier stages of the recently concluded campaign, with the Frenchman accumulating as many as 5 assists in 10 Premier League outings.
However, Guardiola found himself short of cover ever since Mendy was sidelined with a long-term knee injury and the manager had to rotate between the likes of Fabian Delph and Oleksandr Zinchenko to fill in at an unfamiliar position.
While Delph struggled to find consistency and had his own share of injury problems, Guardiola’s patience with Zinchenko gradually paid rich dividends, as the Ukrainian went from strength to strength and established himself as the first-choice left-back in due course of time.
City would need to sort out their left-back conundrum sooner rather than later, given Mendy’s poor injury record. And bringing back Angelino certainly makes a lot of sense.
The 22-year-old would save Man City a fortune in the transfer market, while his arrival is also expected to add much-needed depth and cover in a key area of the pitch for the Citizens.
The Spaniard has proven his credentials as a modern-day offensive-minded full-back in the Netherlands and City have every reason to look at him as someone who could possibly provide cover and competition for Mendy, thus enabling Zinchenko to play elsewhere in a more familiar role.
Capable of shouldering both attacking and defensive responsibilities effectively, Angelino caught the eye with his immaculate crossing, sharpness, agility and a deadly eye for key passes in the final third.
The 22-year-old averaged 2 key passes, 1.7 crosses, 1.4 dribbles, 2.3 successful long balls, 2.2 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 2 clearances per game in the Eredisivie last season, figures which are an upgrade on Mendy’s 1.2 key passes, 1.1 crosses, 1.6 tackles and 1 interception per game in the Premier League.
Those differences in numbers might have a lot to do with the stylistic differences between the two teams and the quality of the leagues but, in all honesty, Angelino proved that he is good enough to challenge the injury-prone and impetuous Mendy for a spot in City’s first-team.
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As the Citizens look to make it a hat-trick of Premier League triumphs next season, they need to ensure that they have adequate depth in all areas of their squad and bringing back the 22-year-old for a thrifty fee would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Man City offering fresh deals to this key first-team duo would help Guardiola continue the legacy – Agreed?
Man City Opinion: Securing the long-term future of Zinchenko and Walker could be absolutely vital for the Citizens
According to Manchester Evening News, England international right-back Kyle Walker is set to sign a new two-year contract extension at Man City, with reports claiming that the Citizens are keen to secure the 29-year-old’s long-term future at the Etihad.
Walker, who joined the reigning Premier League champions from Spurs back in 2017 for a staggering £50 million, is currently contracted to City until the summer of 2024 and the fresh deal will see him effectively commit his entire future to the club.
The right-back’s sudden dip in form saw him lose his place in the first-team to Brazilian Danilo, with City suffering a wobble over the Christmas period, but the 29-year-old was reinstated back in the side by Pep Guardiola since the turn of the year.
Walker made a total of 52 appearances for the Citizens in all competitions this past season and scored twice, as Guardiola’s side completed the domestic treble.
Manchester Evening News understands that City are likely to cash in on reserve right-back Danilo this summer, with Inter Milan interested in securing the services of the Brazilian.
The Citizens have also been linked with a move for Juventus’ Portuguese international right-back Joao Cancelo, but with Walker set for a new deal, it remains to be seen whether the reigning Premier League champions do go ahead with a big-money deal for the Serie A star. (h/t Manchester Evening News)
Walker, though, is not the only player set to agree on fresh terms with the champions, with London Evening Standard reporting that Oleksandr Zinchenko is closing in on a new deal as well.
Guardiola used the Ukrainian international to good effect on the left-hand side of the backline the last term in the absence of first-choice Benjamin Mendy and the manager wants the 22-year-old at the club as a part of his long-term plans moving forward.
Zinchenko’s contract at the Etihad is set to expire in twelve months’ time and the Citizens have already begun talks with the Ukrainian over a new deal.
The 22-year-old found himself on the periphery of the first-team at the start of the previous campaign but with City lacking quality cover at left-back following the long-term injury to Mendy, Guardiola was forced to experiment with the youngster in an unfamiliar role.
Guardiola remained patient with the Ukrainian, and after his initial struggles of playing in an unfamiliar role, Zinchenko gradually established himself as one of the key players in City’s first team. The 22-year-old finished the campaign strongly with 29 appearances in all competitions for City and he might as well be set for a more significant role next term.
To put things into perspective, it is not difficult to understand why Man City are trying to tie Zinchenko and Walker down to new deals. The Citizens have wasted no time in securing the long-term futures of several of their first-team stars, with the likes of Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte and Ederson Moraes all having five years left to run on their present deals.
It is quite apparent that Guardiola sees both the players as a part of his long-term plans at the club. City’s unparalleled dominance in the Premier League has reigned supreme over the last few seasons but they have plenty of issues to sort out if they are really serious about continuing that kind of monopoly in English football.
The likes of Fernandinho and David Silva are 34 and 33 respectively, meaning that they are not likely to continue for much longer. Vincent Kompany has announced his departure from the club and City will need to groom another young and talented centre-back for a future first-team role.
Plus, Ilkay Gundogan has only a year remaining on his current contract and given that the German international has refused to put pen to paper on fresh terms, City might as well start looking at other options in the market.
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Taking these factors into account, it is absolutely vital for City to keep hold of their core of first-team stars and the likes of Walker and Zinchenko certainly fall within that bracket.
Hence, it should be a no-brainer for the Citizens to secure the long-term future of the full-back pairing at the earliest, as Guardiola plans to make it a hat-trick of Premier League triumphs next season.
Man City would get closer to achieving success in Europe by signing this solid 27-year-old defender with £32m buyout clause
Manchester City Opinion: Why the Cityzens should sign Kostas Manolas?
According to Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, Manchester City are looking to beat Arsenal to the signing of AS Roma defender Kostas Manolas. (h/t The Metro)
The Greece international, 27, moved to AS Roma from Olympiacos in 2014 and has since established himself as one of the most consistent defenders in Serie A. However, he is one of a number of players tipped to depart the Italian capital following Roma’s failure to secure Champions League football next term.
Arsenal have been long linked with the 27-year-old, but Manchester City are now very much interested in signing him. The report claims that Kostas Manolas has an attainable release clause of £32m, which is perhaps why he’s attracted the attention of a number of big European clubs.
City manager Pep Guardiola needs to sign a central defender this summer following the departure of Vincent Kompany, who has become the player-manager of his former club Anderlecht after the expiry of his contract at the Etihad. There are also long-term doubts over the futures of Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala, who could both leave this summer for the right price.
Should Otamendi and Mangala also leave, Guardiola will be left with only Aymeric Laporte and John Stones as options in central defence. So, signing a central defender has to be priority for Manchester City to put pressure on Laporte and Stones going into the new season.
Kostas Manolas could be the answer to City’s defensive problems. Powerful, quick and composed on the ball, the Greek personifies the modern-day centre-half. He can spray passes with ease and drive forward with the ball at his feet before making a smart release to one of his teammates. That makes him perfect for Guardiola’s system.
The 27-year-old is robust and no-nonsense when required, but his biggest asset is the way he reads the game. Manolas is a tenacious tackler and uses his aggression, sheer strength and power to recover possession. He likes to come off his line to challenge the attackers but he knows how to balance that with his composure and concentration.
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As mentioned earlier, the former Olympiakos star is extremely composed on the ball which would help him quickly integrate into Guardiola’s style of play at City. Not to forget, the Greece international has solid European experience as well which could prove invaluable for Guardiola’s side keen to win the Champions League.
At 27, Manolas has likely entered the prime years of his career. Hence, it would be a smart idea for Guardiola to bring in the Greek to increase competition for places at the back.
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