Welcome to the latest edition of the City Is Ours Daily Recap, your roundup of Manchester City news that you may have missed.
City are doing very well without a striker, although reports of a new contract for a young star hint at their plans for the future.
Speaking of the future, City have joined a slew of clubs looking to sign a striker for Barcelona next summer, while Adam Lallana has been offered a few words of wisdom by Pep Guardiola.
Rhythm is a dancer, Torres is the answer
City have largely played without a recognized striker this season, but when Ferran Torres recovers from that metatarsal injury he can expect to play an important role in Guardiola’s plans for the future.
The Daily Star reports that the 21-year-old Spain striker is set to sign an exceptional new contract with the Blues, with a six-year contract worth Â£ 100,000 a week, more than double his salary current.
Ferran impressed early in the season, scoring twice in City’s first three games before an injury sustained on international service ruled him out for around three months.
Given how well City are currently playing without a striker, it’s hard to see how Ferran makes his way into Guardiola’s favorite XI. It will of course have chances, especially in games where having a fixed nine is preferred over a bogus nine.
With City unlikely to sign a striker in the January transfer window, tying Ferran to a new deal, thereby sidelining Real Madrid’s interests, is smart business.
Descend the wing
City have no shortage of options in large areas but according to 90 minutes Guardiola is keeping an eye on Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele.
The 24-year-old Frenchman has less than a year on his current contract and talks to renew his deal have been complicated by Dembele seeking a pay raise despite Barca’s financial difficulties.
In the event the two sides go their separate ways, City would have to fight a number of top European clubs for the signing of the World Cup winner – Real Madrid, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain would all be enthusiastic.
Interest in Dembele may indicate City are preparing to brush up on their attacking options, with a number of players including Riyad Mahrez now on the “bad side” of 30. Dembele is also versatile and can therefore play on the wing or center.
However, in the opinion of many fans, City should remain clear. Dembele’s career at Barcelona has been decimated by injuries; since Barca paid Â£ 120million for his services in 2017, he has made 118 appearances but has missed 97 games due to injury.
While at Camp Nou, Dembele’s lifestyle and nutritional choices also raised concerns. To play under Guardiola at City, players need to stay in top condition.
Pep gives the floor to Lallana
Guardiola has gained some reputation for giving over-enthusiastic pep talk to opposition players – think Nathan Redmond – and it looks like the City boss has done it again.
As the players left the pitch following City’s 4-1 win over Brighton on Saturday night, Pep had a long discussion with Adam Lallana.
The 33-year-old was instrumental in relaunching Brighton in the second half which saw the hosts enjoy the best chances and get on the scoresheet, and Pep was clearly impressed.
The Catalan was his typical body language during the five-minute conversation, although far from tactical, Pep said afterwards that the couple only talked about “our families, the kids, that sort of thing”.
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Explaining why City struggled to control the game after half-time, Guardiola praised the ex-Liverpool man.
“When you don’t have the ball, and they have the ball, they know exactly what to do. Do you know who the Brighton midfielder is? Lallana. He’s a number ten or whatever but they set him up holding the midfield to make a good build-up and when you press Lallana he breaks, passes, breaks the line. “
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