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Media Watch: City linked with double swoop

LINKED: Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte is reportedly a target for City.

LINKED: Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte is reportedly a target for City.

A double dose of transfer gossip combines with a look ahead to the Carabao Cup semi-final tie in Tuesday morning’s Media Watch.

City have been linked with players from La Liga and the Ukrainian Premier League, while Bristol City boss, Lee Johnson, has indicated how he will approach tonight’s game.

We’ll start with transfer tales and a Daily Mail claim that the Blues’ reported pursuit of Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder, Fred, is nearing completion.

Writes Simon Jones: “Manchester City are closing in on making Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred their first January signing in a £50m deal.

“Shakhtar are reluctant to lose the Brazilian star while they are still in the Champions League but City are wary of rival interest from Manchester United and want to get a deal tied up swiftly.

“City did monitor Jean-Michael Seri at Nice and are maintaining a watching brief on Lille's promising teenager Boubakary Soumare as scouts watched the 18-year-old again in midweek against Rennes.

“City boss Pep Guardiola views Fred as an ideal long-term replacement for Brazilian compatriot Fernandinho, who turns 33-years-old in May.”

The second rumour of the day is courtesy of The Sun, who suggest City are eyeing a move for Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte.

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The report reads: “Manchester City are considering a move for Athletic Bilbao's defensive rock Aymeric Laporte.

“Etihad boss Pep Guardiola is a longtime fan of the French centre-back, and targeted him last summer.

“And reports in Spain claim City are willing to meet Bilbao's £60million release clause for Laporte, who is under contract until 2020.

“Chelsea, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have also been credited with interests in the 23-year-old, who has been labelled one of Europe's most exciting youngsters.”

Meanwhile, Robins’ manager Johnson has called on his players to replicate their attacking display at the Etihad Stadium in the second leg of the semi-final.

Speaking to ESPN, he said: "I think we have to be bold.

“The players individually have to be bold, I have to be bold in my team selection and tactics. If we're going to fail, we might as well fail bold rather than fail timid.

"I understand every manager's tactical ploys. But we play our way, we've got our identity, everybody we recruit has to play that way, and it has to be entertaining for the fans.

“We will go with that attitude, particularly at home -- we might even be more cavalier."

That's your lot for today, Blues, but stay tuned to mancity.com throughout the day for all the build up ahead of tonight's game.

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