Manchester City

  • 'Riyad was very determined to leave' - f...

    Riyad Mahrez was determined to leave Leicester in 2017, according to former assistant Pascal Plancque, who says the club was not prepared to let him go at the time. The midfielder rose to prominence during Leicester's title-winning season, scoring 18 goals across all competition...

    'Riyad was very determined to leave' - former Leicester assistant discusses Mahrez move

    Riyad Mahrez was determined to leave Leicester in 2017, according to former assistant Pascal Plancque, who says the club was not prepared to let him go at the time. The midfielder rose to prominence during Leicester's title-winning season, scoring 18 goals across all competitions in 2015-16 to help lead the club to glory alongside stars Jamie Vardy and N'Golo Kante. The Frenchman went on to make his move to Chelsea the very next summer, and Plancque, who departed Leicester in August, says Mahrez was determined to leave the Foxes the year after in search of a new challenge. However, according to Claude Puel's former assistant, the club was unable to let him go at the time. Leicester did sell Mahrez this past summer in a £60m ($77m) move to Manchester City, one that Plancque says worked out for all involved once the timing became correct. "Riyad, he was very, very determined to leave," Plancque said.  "Because he was already thinking of leaving the summer before. He thought he had an agreement with the club so he could leave if he had any requests. And the proposals, he had them, with those of Manchester City in particular. "The problem is that the proposal arrived late and it was difficult to replace him, to prepare his succession. The club was not ready to see him leave. "It was a good solution for the club and also for Riyad because that didn't prevent him from leaving in July for City. "His first steps in Man City? I find that for his first matches, he didn't shine. We could see that he was trying to make his mark. "But after a month, he is an important element and he has found his effectiveness. He scores and makes goals. I think he is progressing because he defends much more than in Leicester. "I congratulate him personally because he is someone I really appreciate. In addition, he is trained by a superb coach and surrounded by exceptional players. And he will still progress." While Mahrez and Kante have both since left in big money deals, Vardy remains Leicester's star and, at 31, it appears the forward's time for a big move is gone. Plancque was full of praise for the English forward, citing Vardy's work ethic as a key factor in Leicester's rise and sustained run in the Premier League. "He's a great professional, very conscientious, very serious and very involved in his club," Plancque said.  "But, you know, there are players who have experience, and who have adopted work habits of which it's difficult to change. "Sometimes you have to arrange it or accept the fact that from time to time the players want to manage themselves. "Because the player has come to the point when he knows himself very well, and he knows he needs to do a little more one day, and a little less another to be able to perform on the day of the match."

  • Bolt has backing of Pogba & Sterling...

    Usain Bolt claims his football dream is being backed by Paul Pogba and Raheem Sterling, with Manchester rivals at United and City believing he can make the grade. The Jamaican sprinter has struggled to convince since swapping track for field, with questions asked of his ability ...

    Bolt has backing of Pogba & Sterling as he shrugs off critics of football career

    Usain Bolt claims his football dream is being backed by Paul Pogba and Raheem Sterling, with Manchester rivals at United and City believing he can make the grade. The Jamaican sprinter has struggled to convince since swapping track for field, with questions asked of his ability to make the transition from athletics superstar to competitive footballer. He has spent time training with various clubs, with Australian outfit the Central Coast Mariners going as far as tabling terms. Bolt claims to have “a lot of offers” on the table as he considers his next move, but he has also been forced to respond to accusations from former Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh that he has a touch “like a trampoline”. A man with eight Olympic gold medals to his name is not overly concerned about the opinion of “simple players”, with the 32-year-old able to call upon support from a World Cup winner and England international. Bolt told Sky Sports: "People are going to say what they want, I'm used to this. I used to do track and field, people used to think badly of me when I started and I proved them wrong every year. "Football is something that I want. I'm sure he [Keogh] is not at the level he was when he started, you know what I mean? "I don't take it personally, I just laugh at these things because I've met Patrick Vieira, I've met so many big football players. "I've talked to Pogba and Sterling and they are happy to see me trying, they say 'come on, you can do it'. "They support me, so I'm not going to worry about some simple players saying some things about me because I have high-level players knowing this is a dream and what I want to do. "This is not all about the money. This is a dream, and I want to try and see how good I can be." Bolt recently turned down the chance to link up with Maltese outfit Valletta, as he considered his options in Australia, with that move considered to be wrong for him at this stage. If he does have interest from elsewhere then it could be that his football dream is fulfilled, but reports of the terms he is demanding may prove to be a sticking point as he seeks to find another landing spot.

  • 'Does he look like what you'd expect for...

    Gary Neville is disappointed with the impact Fred has had since moving to Manchester United in the summer, suggesting his former club may have overpaid for his signature. The Brazilian was the subject of a fierce tussle between Manchester rivals United and City, before finally p...

    'Does he look like what you'd expect for £50m?' - Neville doubts Man Utd flop Fred

    Gary Neville is disappointed with the impact Fred has had since moving to Manchester United in the summer, suggesting his former club may have overpaid for his signature. The Brazilian was the subject of a fierce tussle between Manchester rivals United and City, before finally prompting for the red half of the city.  United paid out a fee of £50 million ($64.5m) for his services, but so far have received little on their investment.  Fred has appeared just seven times in the Premier League for his new club, prompting Neville to doubt the wisdom of his signing.  “Fred at £50m, he started the first game of the season and he looked bright, he looked tidy - but does he look like what you would expect for £50m?" the former United defender said on the Gary Neville Podcast. “Does he change a game? Does it look like he’s going to defend your goal? Does it look like he’s going to connect back-to-front? At this moment in time, no." Neville did concede that his old employers might yet get the best out of him, but wondered why he was not picked in Sunday's derby defeat to Man City even when Paul Pogba withdrew due to injury. “He is still developing," Neville added. "He’s still getting used to Manchester United and he’s coming into a very difficult position in the sense that the club aren’t the most stable at this moment in time in terms of their performance levels and the scrutiny that’s been on the club in the past three or four months. “So, I wouldn’t put it all onto Fred but you have to ask the question, where was he [on Sunday] in that central midfield?” That 3-1 reverse at the hands of their rivals leaves the Reds languishing in eighth place in the Premier League, a massive 12 points behind leaders City.  They also trail Tottenham by seven points in the last qualifying spot for the Champions League.

  • No war with Manchester United over Fella...

    Roberto Martinez insists there is no "war" with Manchester United over the fitness of their Belgian players, despite Marouane Fellaini's quick return to action. Fellaini was not available for selection for Belgium's upcoming matches with Iceland and Switzerland due to a lack of ...

    No war with Manchester United over Fellaini, insists Martinez

    Roberto Martinez insists there is no "war" with Manchester United over the fitness of their Belgian players, despite Marouane Fellaini's quick return to action. Fellaini was not available for selection for Belgium's upcoming matches with Iceland and Switzerland due to a lack of fitness following a groin problem. However, United boss Jose Mourinho was forced to start Fellaini for Sunday's Manchester derby due to a thigh injury suffered by Paul Pogba. Despite not being fit for international duty, Fellaini played the full 90 minutes in United's 3-1 defeat, which could have left Martinez wondering why he was not allowed to call on the 30-year-old. But the former Everton boss has no problems with United's decision and rejected claims there was tension between the two parties. "What happened with Marouane Fellaini is something that happens constantly in dressing rooms," he told a media conference. "Due to the circumstances, he had to play, and it's incredible to see him playing 90 minutes at an incredible level, so for us it is fantastic news.  "We made a decision last Friday about the squad with information we had on all the players and it is a good opportunity to carry on with the plans that we have.  "But knowing that Marouane played 90 minutes at the weekend is good to know, it means that he is getting very close to being fully fit and if he is needed he will always be available to the national team.  "The two medical departments had very good conversations and the best decision is the one we took. There's been nothing strange about the situation of Marouane. "It's good to see he got through the 90 minutes. We are delighted he is getting [back] to his best level, the same way that we were disappointed he couldn't participate with us in the previous camp because of the niggles. "That was a disappointment we shared with his club. We are working all together, this is not a war [with Manchester United], this is not a situation where we are trying to get revenge over anyone." Another United star, Romelu Lukaku, will be rested for Thursday's friendly with Iceland as he continues his recovery from a hamstring strain. But Martinez could use the striker against Switzerland as Belgium look to reach the Nations League Finals. "Romelu will train today with the group," added Martinez. "He's had a very positive reaction so we'll take it day by day, see how he feels and we'll take it [him playing] into consideration."

  • Man City prospect Foden set to sign six-...

    Phil Foden is on the verge of signing a new six-year contract with Manchester City, Goal understands. Foden, 18, has attracted interest from leading clubs around Europe but is keen to make the grade at his boyhood club and had instructed his advisors to broker a new deal. The m...

    Man City prospect Foden set to sign six-year deal

    Phil Foden is on the verge of signing a new six-year contract with Manchester City, Goal understands. Foden, 18, has attracted interest from leading clubs around Europe but is keen to make the grade at his boyhood club and had instructed his advisors to broker a new deal. The midfielder's current contract is due to expire in 2020 and while the offer on the table is yet to be signed he is expected to put pen to paper in the coming weeks. Sources close to the player have told Goal that the new terms represent a considerable upgrade on his current £15,000-per-week deal. City boss Pep Guardiola is a major admirer of the England Under-21 international, and has repeatedly spoken of his determination to help him make the step up to the City first team. Foden, from Stockport, earned a Premier League winners' medal last season and scored the first senior City goal of his career in September, against Oxford United in the Carabao Cup. City saw fellow hot prospect Jadon Sancho leave the club for Borussia Dortmund last summer, while Brahim Diaz, a 19-year-old forward long tipped to make the grade, looks increasingly likely to depart on a free transfer when his deal expires at the end of the season. Brahim, who signed from Malaga as a 14-year-old, has also caught the eye of clubs around Europe and given he is further down the first-team pecking order than Foden, he is keen to find a club that can offer him regular football. Foden's contract renewal, therefore, is a major coup for City, who last week announced that Raheem Sterling had signed a new five-year contract.

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