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What the Media Says

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Media City: Race on for Stones

RUMOURED TARGET: John Stones (right) battling with Sergio Aguero

RUMOURED TARGET: John Stones (right) battling with Sergio Aguero

Transfer speculation about moves in and out of City feature in Thursday's media round-up, while two Blues pop up in discussions about Euro 2016 and Copa America selection...

Transfer speculation over moves in and out of City feature in Thursday's media round-up, while two Blues pop up in discussions about Euro 2016 and Copa America selection...

First, let's get the gossip pot bubbling. Take a decent young player, add in a few high profile clubs, sprinkle in a fee and it's getting tasty.

The Manchester Evening News' James Robson writes: "Guardiola has identified Stones, along with Aymeric Laporte, as a player to build Manchester City’s fragile defence around.

"Incoming Manchester United manager Mourinho, meanwhile, is ready to resume his pursuit of the 21-year-old after failing to sign him for Chelsea last summer.

"The Manchester rivals are not the only interested parties, with Barcelona and Chelsea also targeting him."

The article adds that "a fee in excess of £45m" could be enough to land the ex-Barnsley man.

Elsewhere, a number of papers report that Yaya Toure is keen to continue in the English top flight.

The Guardian's Jamie Jackson reports: "The midfielder’s first choice is to continue playing in the Premier League and he is open to staying at Manchester City."

Jackson adds: "Despite turning 33 last month, the midfielder believes he can continue at the highest level for the foreseeable future. His elder brother, Kolo, is 35 and played regularly for Liverpool last season, including starting the Europa League final this month.

“This has furthered Touré’s determination to extend his career for as long as possible.”

Over in Buenos Aires, Sergio Aguero's role in the national team is a talking point ahead of La Albiceleste's Copa America warm-up match against Honduras on Friday.

A report in the Buenos Aires Herald reads: "Argentina national team coach Gerardo Martino tried using Gonzalo Higuaín and Sergio Agüero together in attack in the first team yesterday for tomorrow’s friendly game against Honduras in San Juan.

"Lionel Messi and Éver Banega did not participate in the training session as they only arrived in the country from Spain yesterday. Javier Mascherano, Messi’s teammate in Barcelona, also joined the Argentine squad yesterday, but trained normally and was part of the first team alongside Lucas Biglia in midfield.

"At the Ezeiza facilities, Martino fielded: Sergio Romero; Gabriel Mercado, Nicolás Otamendi, Ramiro Funes Mori, Marcos Rojo; Biglia, Mascherano, Erik Lamela; Ángel Di María, Higuaín and Agüero.

"Although Messi did not train, it was a surprise to see Higuaín and Agüero together. Martino has always said he thinks both players are centre forwards and he prefers to field one of them and surround the chosen one with players with different skills. It’s almost a sure thing that Messi will start tomorrow’s game playing on the right side, and Higuaín and Agüero will battle for a place in the team. Di María will play on the left."

Closer to home, in fact at home - England trained at CFA on Wednesday - and City goalkeeper Joe Hart has spelt out his support for Club-mate Raheem Sterling ahead of the Euro 2016 warm-up game with Australia on Friday.

"He's got no point to prove, Raheem," Hart said in comments reported by FourFourTwo

I see Raheem work hard every day trying to improve.

Joe Hart


"He's 21, he's fully aware of that and he's going to get better. And he's excited. He's an exciting footballer, someone I enjoy working with and I really want to do well.

"He was really good [on Sunday]. He got kicked to pieces because they couldn't deal with him, simple as that.

"I think maybe in a [European] Championship game a few of them would have been walking a lot tighter rope than they were.

"But it was good. I was excited to see it. It was tough for Raheem towards the end of the season - he wasn't starting games - that's gone and it's a fresh chapter.

"A fit and firing Raheem Sterling can change games."

In other news

Arsenal agree deal with Granit Xhaka - Arsenal.com

Rafael Benitez has agreed a three-year contract to stay with Newcastle United - www.nufc.co.uk


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