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Media Watch: Joao Felix on the radar?

TARGET?: It's claimed City are set to battle Arsenal for Benfica youngster Joao Felix.

TARGET?: It's claimed City are set to battle Arsenal for Benfica youngster Joao Felix.

Transfer tales, Champions League chatter and the Return of the King… It’s your Monday morning media round-up.

With City out of action until the end of the month, attentions have turned to other matters at hand – most notably, the Blues’ alleged summer transfer activity and more reaction to our European quarter-final draw.

Let’s kick off with the rumours doing the rounds…

According to the Manchester Evening News, City are set to battle Arsenal for Benfica youngster Joao Felix.

Richard Fay reports: “Portuguese outlet O Jogo claims both Premier League clubs sent scouts to monitor the starlet last week.

“The 18-year-old is one of the most exciting talents in Portugal and reportedly attracting talent from across Europe.

“Felix is a versatile attacking player who usually occupies the left wing, however he has played across the entire attacking line for his side already this season.

“The youngster has been in fine form and has four goals and two assists in his last four matches at youth level.

“However, it is suggested his club have already set a massive €60m release clause in his contract and are in no rush to part with one of their future stars.

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“The report also suggests that Manchester United have shown an interest, however did not send scouts to monitor him last week.”

Elsewhere, the Daily Star state City have are no longer leading the race to sign Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred, with neighbours United set to jump to the front of the queue.

Writes Paul Hetherington: “The main threat to United clinching the signing of the Shakhtar Donetsk star in the summer is coming from Paris St-Germain – not Manchester City.

“There were claims last week that City had cooled their interest in Fred, 25.

“But Starsport can reveal that the Premier League champions-elect are still eyeing the situation, though no longer see Fred as a priority signing.”

Meanwhile, in other news, England legend Robbie Fowler has told the Mirror he feels City’s Champions League tie against Liverpool is a ‘nightmare’ for both managers.

The former Blue (and Red) reflected: “I played in an all-English semi-final of the Champions League back in 2007 and I can tell you this much: every single player would have wanted foreign opponents.

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“I won’t say City-Liverpool is an anti-climax in the quarter-final this year because it’s the tie of the round, but both teams would have been dreaming of a trip to one of the great European clubs, not 30 miles down the road.

“In many ways, drawing Liverpool is a nightmare for City and Pep Guardiola – and the other way round of course.

“Don’t get me wrong, it will be a helluva tie – I’m expecting a classic – but they know each other inside out.

“Guardiola will have wanted Barca, I’m sure, to not only go back to his former club, but also test exactly where City are in terms of their development.

“Getting Liverpool means a very different approach. For a start, he knows Jurgen Klopp has the best record of any manager in the world against his teams. He knows Klopp can beat him.

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“Instead of just assuming City can just play the way they do, he’ll have to analyse why. It’s a good question. Anyone who has watched Liverpool under Klopp realises if they have a problem – when sides close up against them – like Jose Mourinho did last weekend.

“As it is, City are obviously ­favourites, but they’d be stupid to underestimate Klopp.

“From a personal point of view, it was a nightmare draw for me, too. I am a big fan of City – they are my former club after all.

“Yet I’m sure City fans will ­forgive me rooting for Liverpool.”

Finally, the Ivory Coast have confirmed Yaya Toure’s return to international football for this month's friendlies in France.

As BBC Sport explain: “The 34-year-old quit international football after leading his country to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations title, but reversed his decision in December.

“Named in a 24-man squad for fixtures against Togo on 24 March and then Moldova three days later, officials are excited about his return after a three-year absence.”

A top FIF official declared: “The federation had a good discussion with Yaya Toure about the two friendlies and he gave his commitment to be in France before his inclusion.

"It's also a big boost for the team ahead of important qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

"He loves his country and many people revere him for his contributions, we are just happy to have him back in the team again."

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