According to several reports in the media, City’s bid to sign Leonardo Bonucci has shifted up a gear.
ESPN are one of several websites to claim that the Italian’s representative has flown to Manchester to open talks about a potential move as they report: “Bonucci's agent is in England to discuss a move to Manchester City, but Juventus don't want to sell and it could take a bid in excess of £50 million to complete the deal, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“A new defender is high on Pep Guardiola's list of priorities this summer and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager labelled Bonucci "one of my favourite ever players" following a Champions League tie against Juventus in February.
“The Sun adds that despite interest from Chelsea, Italy international Bonucci won't be having a reunion with Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge as the former Juventus boss agreed not to approach players from his ex-employer.”
Italian Football Daily expand on the thread, focusing on what the Azzurri star would bring to City should the alleged pursuit be successful.
They write: “While Bionconeri fans can figure their club, who is not struggling financially, will not be selling a prized, beloved, centrepiece player, £51m is a lot of money. However, Juventus does not want to sell a player who is absolutely key to one of the best defensive lines in the world.
“While the transfer market is unpredictable, and strange things have happened before, it is safe to assume the Old Lady will not sell Bonucci. However. If Juventus accepted the offer of £51m, and Bonucci went to the blue end of Manchester, Pep Guardiola would already be off to a stellar start as manager.
“Leonardo Bonucci is only 29. He is one of the best defenders in the world. He has played in one of the best defensive lines in football. He is coming off a very strong performance for Italy, in the same roles, in Euro 2016.
“He has experience in the highest competitions with Juventus, and has succeeded time and time again against some of the best teams in the world, with the best attackers in the world. He has also succeeded with different coaches: under both Antonio Conte and Massimiliano Allegri, he has proved over and over that he is a force to be reckoned with, for both club and country.
“In short, Bonucci is a battle-tested monster. And that is what Guardiola would get. Bonucci is used to playing tactical football. Both of his previous coaches have been tactical geniuses, and Serie A is known for its tactical brand of football, as compared to the more counter-based, attacking league that is the Prem. Guardiola is no exception.
“He has proven himself to be one of the world’s best coaches, and is also a tactical genius. He has also called Bonucci ‘one of my favourite ever players.’”Hmm, that line is cropping up again and again so could the speculation be based solely on that? We’ll have to wait and see.
In other news, as they say, there are suggestions that former boss Roberto Mancini could enter the fray as an outside bet for the next England manager.
Mancini will forever have a place in the hearts of City fans because of the FA Cup and Premier League title successes and if you canvassed English Blues, chances are they’d welcome the Italian taking on the national team.
The Mirror write: “Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is ready to throw his hat into the ring for the England job.
“Inter Milan head coach Mancini would fit the Football Association’s criteria as they start the search for Roy Hodgson’s successor.
“The 51-year-old Italian, who won the title as Manchester City manager four years ago, has one season left on his contract at Inter and could be open to a return to English football after this week's change of ownership at the Serie A giants.
“Ex-Italy star Mancini speaks English and has managed in the Premier League — two of the criteria the FA have identified as necessary if they are to appoint a foreign boss after Hodgson resigned following an early exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of tiny Iceland.
“The FA have already spoken to former England captains Gary Lineker, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard, as well as Harry Redknapp as part of the process to identify the Three Lions' next boss.”
Back to more tenuous transfer links and the Daily Star write: “City are set to win the race for Colombian wonder-kid Marlos Moreno, according to reports. The 19-year-old impressed at this summer's Copa America, helping his country finish third in the tournament.
"And the Daily Mirror report that City have jumped to the head of the queue and are closing in on an £8m deal for the Atletico Nacional winger.
“It means Pep Guardiola is set to win his first battle in the transfer market with arch-rival Jose Mourinho.
“Both managers have wasted little time in getting to work in the transfer market ahead of their first seasons at City and United respectively.”
It seems City will reap the benefit of former youngster Denis Suarez who recently joined Barcelona from Villarreal.
It appears the Blues put in a clause that could be worth several million – if the reported figures are correct.
The IB Times report: “Barcelona have revealed that the signing of Denis Suarez could cost them up to €13m (£11m, $14.4m), due to a number of clauses in the deal that saw the Spaniard move to the Nou Camp from Manchester City's academy in the summer of 2013. To date, Barcelona have paid just €5m to get him back, with €3.25m going to the Yellow Submarine and the remainder to Pep Guardiola's new side.
“The reigning La Liga and Copa del Rey champions signed the versatile midfielder in 2013 for just €950,000. He was later sent on loan to Sevilla before being sold to Villarreal for an undisclosed fee during last summer's transfer window.
“However, Barcelona inserted a €3.25m buy-back clause in the contract, which has now been triggered to make Suarez the club's first signing of the summer.
“It now emerges Barca have been forced to pay an additional €800,000 due to a previous agreement with the Etihad outfit. This means that the total fee they have splashed out for him to date, including the €950,000 spent in 2013, has been €5m.”
More of the same tomorrow!