January transfer speculation is beginning to increase and Manchester City, as ever, are heavily involved. Let’s take our daily trip around the media and see the latest potential incoming and outgoings at the Etihad Stadium.
We’ll start with the news that City are looking to agree a deal for Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic.
Croatian media outlet Jurtanji believe City want Rakitic, who was left of the Barcelona side that drew 1-1 with Villarreal, and are close to finalising a deal that will see him swap the Camp Nou for the the Etihad Stadium.
However, the two clubs are understood to want to keep the deal secret until everything is agreed.
However, after the game with Villarreal, Barca boss Luis Enrique looked to quell the speculation, saying: "It's up to me to decide the squads and the teams. That's my job.
"What's been published has nothing to do with that.
"Only 25 per cent of things are true, be it in the Croatian, Spanish, English or Italian media."
We’ll have to wait and see how that one develops...
Meanwhile, a move for Virgil van Dijk of Southampton is no longer on the cards, according to a report in the Star.
City have been consistently linked with a move for the Dutch defender this season – but Southampton are keen to keep him and won’t entertain bids in January.
Southampton’s director of football Les Reed said: “Virgil is not for the sale. We haven’t had any bids and if we got any bids we wouldn’t consider them.
“It just doesn’t make sense to think we would release Virgil van Dijk in midseason when we have still got, we believe, all to play for.
“There haven’t been any enquiries but certainly the status of him at the moment is that he is simply not for sale.”
City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain are all thought to be keen on Van Dijk but having only signed a six-year deal with Saints in the summer, the south coast club are in a strong position to keep hold of him.
He writes: "It is a myth that he [Guardiola] does not focus on defending. "Attack is more based on innate talent," he once said. "Defence is about the work you put into it. Defensive strategy is absolutely essential if I want to attack a lot."
"For Guardiola, everything is about the build-up play. In that sense, defence is his priority. At Bayern Munich, Javi Martinez recalls being shown 200 videos. "We've done so much tactical work," he said. "When to move out with the ball, when to mark, where to position myself."
"Stones will not be left wanting for attention and everything will have a purpose. Guardiola believes that by circulating the ball it is the opposition's shape that is destabilised, tiring them out and leaving his own side less susceptible to the counter-attack."
That’s all for today’s media roundup. We’ll be back tomorrow at the same time to keep you up to speed with all the transfer news and rumours concerning City.