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City wary of Chelsea's Van Dijk threat

NO DEAL: Guardiola laughs off Van Dijk claims

NO DEAL: Guardiola laughs off Van Dijk claims

With the January transfer window now tantalisingly close to opening, there are plenty of transfer rumours around - and today’s media roundup contains a heavy dose of Manchester City gossip.

Let’s start with Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk. 

According to Simon Jones of the Mail, City are keen on landing Van Dijk and are prepared to wait until the summer before launching a big-money move.

However, with Chelsea also circling, they could be pressed into action sooner to avoid losing out on the centre-back. 

"Manchester City are willing to hold off a move for Virgil van Dijk until the summer but are wary of Chelsea interest," Jones writes. 

“Southampton are keen to keep the Dutch centre-back for this season despite the 25-year-old attracting such interest and will demand around £55million.

“That should prove a substantial obstacle for most, despite rumours of a £25m buyout clause, but Chelsea and City have the finance and aren't afraid to spend it.

“City though are reluctant to make additions in January yet are primed to move should Chelsea step up their own interest in Van Dijk with Antonio Conte's staff weighing up a number of options.”

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid president Miguel Angel Gil Marin has told Spanish radio station El Transistor that City made moves for brothers Lucas and Theo Hernandez in the summer.

And James Robson of the Manchester Evening News believes this shows City’s desire to reinforce their defensive options.

“Manchester City launched a double bid for Atletico Madrid defenders Lucas and Theo Hernandez, the Spanish club have claimed,” Robson writes.

Pep Guardiola ultimately failed to convince the La Liga giants to sell two of the most exciting prospects in Europe when making his move last summer.

“But the revelation of City’s interest in the defensive brothers is further evidence of his determination to overhaul his rearguard.

“Centre back Lucas is being monitored by Barcelona, who are also believed to be interested in Theo - a left back currently on loan at Alaves.

"But they have also caught the eye of Guardiola, with Atletico president Miguel Angel Gil Marin confirming in an interview with Spanish radio station El Transistor: "This summer we had a very important offer from Manchester City for Lucas and Theo Hernandez.”"

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And, finally, Gabriel Jesus will go on to usurp Lionel Messi as the world’s best player, according to one of the Brazilian’s early coaches.

Speaking to AFP, Jose Francisco Mamede, who oversaw Jesus’ development at Pequeninos do Meio Ambiente de Sao Paulo, says he believes the 19-year-old is a Ballon d’Or winner in waiting.

“Gabriel came from a very poor neighbourhood and that’s why he’s not afraid,” he told AFP. “He will adapt to the food, to the cold in Manchester and everything else.

“In three years he’ll win the Ballon d’Or, because Messi will already be getting a bit old.”

That’s all for today's transfer gossip - but we’ll have plenty of Liverpool v Manchester City build-up throughout the afternoon here on mancity.com!

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