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Manchester City are yet to complete a deal – but, according to this morning’s papers, that could change very soon.
Let’s start this morning’s back page roundup with an article by Andrew Dillon in the Sun that says City have been given a clear indication of the price it will take to sign Jonny Evans.
Dillon believes the Northern Ireland international will choose City over Arsenal, who are also interested in landing him, but admits there remains some negotiating to be done.
“Pep Guardiola has been told Jonny Evans can be his man for £23.5 million,” Dillon writes.
“West Bromwich Albion are braced for a firm bid from the Premier League leaders in the next 24 hours or so and are resigned to losing their captain and keystone defender.
“Arsenal remain keen on Evans but are dithering over stepping up with a concrete offer for the player and could well lose out.
“Evans, 30, would prefer to join City having graduated through the academy at their crosstown rivals Manchester United and making more than 130 appearances for them.
“City will try to get the price lowered to around £20m in order to do business and negotiations still have some way to go to reach a suitable compromise but it looks as if Evans will be on his way within a week.”
Meanwhile, Stuart Brennan at the Manchester Evening News has identified five possible defensive-midfield targets City could look to land in the summer.
Brennan believes City officials will already be looking to find a long-term successor to Fernandinho, who turns 33 at the end of the season.
One name in the frame is Monaco’s Fabinho, who Brennan believes City have watched.
“City have admired him from afar for a while, and the fact that he can play full back as well attracts Pep,” he writes. “But the fact he has a contract until 2021 means Monaco would want big money, even if the prospect of reuniting with Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva might tempt him.”
And, finally, former City defender Steve Howey has backed the Blues to win the Premier League title.
Howey was a member of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle side that famously blew a 12-point lead with 15 matches remaining of the 1995-96 season.
But he has told the Sun his Newcastle team were naive, something he doesn’t associate with Guardiola’s City.
“City have a fantastic team, like we had a fantastic team,” he says.
“We were one of the best — if not THE best team not to win the Premier League.
“They are a team who are up there with the kind of football we played.
“Pep has drilled it into his players that, ‘If you concede, so what? Keep on playing’.
“We were like that because Kevin always used to say, ‘Entertain the fans — they’ve paid a lot to watch you’.
“Our defence was criticised then and that was simply because we didn’t have one!”
That’s all for today, Blues. Stay with us throughout the day as we build up to this weekend’s crucial game at home to Newcastle.
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