Summer transfer targets, injury updates for both City and Arsenal plus more Carabao Cup final build-up fills today’s back pages.
We’ll kick off with one of Bundesliga’s brightest young talents suggesting he is aware of alleged interest from the Blues and several other Premier League clubs.
But, for now, he has no intention of moving on as Football365 report: “Leon Bailey has cooled talk of a move to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City – or pretty much anywhere.
“Bailey has emerged as a target for a number of Europe’s leading clubs this season, scoring 11 goals and assisting five in 23 games for Bayer Leverkusen.
“One report suggested that Leverkusen would want at least £100m for the winger, who will probably just end up joining Bayern Munich.
“Bailey, one of the six best next Premier League imports, says Leverkusen are “perfect” for him right now.
‘I am young, and I’ve seen too many young players make a too big step too early, and they failed. I believe Leverkusen are perfect for me.
‘If I move to a big European club, the people there should already be aware of me. Before, I want to make a name for myself at the highest level.’
Meanwhile, Read Liverpool suggest City are closely monitoring Emre Can’s situation at Anfield with the German midfielder a free agent in the summer.
They write: “The consensus opinion is that Emre Can will be leaving Liverpool in the summer when his contract expires in June but his next destination remains very much up in the air.
“Juventus had been leading the race to sign the midfielder, working on a deal to sign him on a free transfer for several months, but as time goes on, more clubs begin to register their interest in the Germany international.
“Calciomercato report that Real Madrid along with Manchester City and Bayern Munich are eager to wrap up a deal for Can once his Liverpool contract expires.”
Elsewhere, good news for Benjamin Mendy’s hopes of ending his season on a real high for club and country following encouraging words from his national team boss.
SI.com write: “France boss Didier Deschamps has insisted that Benjamin Mendy is still in with a chance of earning a place in his squad for this summer's World Cup.
“The 23-year-old, who joined Manchester City from Monaco for £52m in the summer, has been sidelined since September with a serious knee injury.
“Mendy faces a battle to return to fitness in time for the World Cup, but Deschamps has backed him in his recovery.
‘He’s making good progress, if not very good,’ Deschamps told SFR Sport. ‘Now he needs to rediscover his rhythm in training with the squad, then resume competitive football. But he’ll do everything he can, I know he has the desire.’
“Asked whether Mendy could make the France squad, Deschamps added: ‘Today, I don’t have a definite answer, but neither does he. He’s doing everything he can to regain his condition.
‘There’s no point in taking shortcuts. He must recover his flexibility and his ability to stretch the joint so that he is no longer apprehensive about it.’
On to Sunday’s final at Wembley and depending on what you read, Arsenal either have a triple injury lift, or are likely to be without two or three of their best players!
As so often with such big games, expect the Gunners to be there or thereabouts in terms of having one of their strongest squads to select from as the North London side bid to end their League Cup jinx under Arsene Wenger who has already decided his keeper for the game.
ITV Sport report: “David Ospina will keep his place in between the sticks despite the importance of the match against the Premier League leaders. Ospina has started all but one of this season's League Cup games so has merited his selection ahead of No.1 Petr Cech, who is primarily used in the league.
“Cech never expected to play against City, suggesting earlier in the week that he anticipated missing out on the final.”
Turkish Football believe Mesut Ozil is a doubt for the game, but with four days still to go, the German playmaker should have recovered from being unwell.
Nonetheless, the story reads: “Ozil missed first-team training on Monday and Tuesday due to an illness.
“The Germany international has been ruled out of this evening’s encounter with Ostersunds and is in a race against time to fully recover for the Cup Final.
‘Mesut was sick until Wednesday,’ Wenger told reporters.
‘It was his first training session today. He was in bed on Monday and Tuesday with sickness.
‘I would certainly have played him but because he was sick he will have to work hard tomorrow and he will not be involved.’
Finally, The Sun believe Aaron Ramsey is another doubt against City.
Their snippet reads: “Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has a selection headache going into the Carabao Cup final.
“Ramsey is ‘set to miss’ this weekend’s clash with Manchester City. The Wales international is suffering with a persistent groin problem which has already ruled him out of tonight’s Europa League fixture against Ostersunds.”
More gossip and Wembley build-up tomorrow…