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Media Watch: City sets sights on Steffen?

TARGET?: It's claimed City are in talks with Zack Steffen

TARGET?: It's claimed City are in talks with Zack Steffen

From Champions League chat to transfer tales, there are plenty of topics for discussion in Tuesday’s matchday media round-up…

City are back in European action tonight, locking horns with Lyon in France in a crucial clash. A point would be enough for the Blues to secure qualification, while a win would cement top spot.

The French outfit however condemned the Premier League Champions to defeat in Matchday One at the Etihad Stadium and manager Bruno Genesio insists his side will attack Pep Guardiola’s men without fear.

Four Four Two are one of many outlets to carry the Lyon coach’s comments, as he told journalists: “We must play the game with complete focus.

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"This is a team that is superior to us on paper. We'll have to be at 150 per cent to win.

"Manchester City are one of the favourites to win the Champions League. They are one of the best European teams, but we will play with ambition – It's the only way to trouble them again.

“We have to believe in ourselves. We have to play. If we just defend, we will suffer and we will concede. That much is obvious.

“We must play with ambition in front of our home fans and have no regrets."

Meanwhile, former Blue Jason Denayer, who is set to face his old club tonight, fresh from bagging the winner in Friday’s 1-0 triumph over rivals Saint-Etienne, has reflected on his time in Manchester.

"I had a good time there and picked up a lot of experience,” he declared, as France24 report.

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"They're a team with huge attacking potential. We'll certainly have to suffer, but it's up to us to take the ball out and worry them.

"We'll try do our best defensively and we'll have to do our all to stop them from scoring.”

Elsewhere, there’s gushing praise for Guardiola from a United legend, as Gary Neville highlights the key qualities to the Catalan’s success.

Quoted by the Manchester Evening News (amongst others), the ex-Red told Sky Sports: “Pep doesn't measure a game of football in the same way we do.

“At 4-0, you're patting yourselves on the back in the dressing room after the game, but he sets a standard which is different to everyone else's. Sometimes I think he also wants to send a message to his players that when he sees a little complacency or things that aren't right, he'll stamp on it.

“He won't allow a drop in standard in any way and it's been apparent this season that when they've won a league, there's been a big dip. Every single day until the end of the season, he will make sure that little bit of complacency doesn't creep in at any moment in any game.

“Back-to-back championships is what he's desperate for and what he needs, and what he thinks is right for teams he manages. He knows that will take them from a great achievement last season to a great side. That's what they're looking like at this moment in time.

“He knows there are tougher tests to come where, if they do drop, they will get punished. But at the moment they look unbreakable. It looks like you can't touch them.”

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In other news, Talking Baws have penned a piece on Patrick Roberts’ impressive recent form for Girona.

“Patrick Roberts appears to finally be showing fans in Spain exactly what he’s capable of after starring for Girona in a crucial La Liga fixture over the weekend,” scribes Daniel Caw.

“Earlier this month, we told you how Roberts was reportedly considering cutting his loan spell with the Spaniards short after failing to win a regular starting berth, but last night’s 2-0 win over Espanyol seems to have put paid to that.

“Roberts was in glittering form playing on the right-wing, in place of regular midfielder Portu, and has now started three consecutive La Liga matches after waiting several months for his first.

“Defeating Espanyol is a big deal for Girona, who consider the fixture a big derby clash, and Roberts’ performance has caught the eye of many watching punter – and it seems any hopes of Celtic luring him back to Glasgow any time soon are pretty remote.”

Turning attentions to transfer gossip and there are a few rumours doing the rounds, as ESPN claim City are plotting a January bid for Zack Steffen, while Tuttosport believe Pep Guardiola is monitoring Jordi Alba’s situation at Barcelona.

According to Jeff Carlisle: “Columbus Crew and U.S. international goalkeeper Zack Steffen is in negotiations to be transferred to Manchester City, multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN FC, with the fee expected to be between $7 million to $10 million.

The Athletic first reported the news of the advanced talks and monetary figures, after The Sun had initially reported City's interest in the 23-year-old over the weekend.

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“Multiple sources have confirmed the talks to acquire Steffen are in an advanced stage and could be completed by the end of the week. Sources also confirmed that Columbus will receive an undisclosed percentage of any transfer fee if Steffen is subsequently transferred.

“Steffen has seen his stock grow considerably in the past two seasons, and was named the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. His performances helped the Crew reach the MLS playoffs twice, making 71 league and playoff appearances and recording 22 shutouts.

“Steffen has also seen his international profile increase, making six appearances for the U.S., including a stellar performance in a pre-World Cup friendly against France that ended in a 1-1 draw.

“If the deal is completed with the English Premier League side, Steffen would still need to acquire a work permit and would likely need to receive a special exemption since he hasn't played enough competitive international fixtures with the U.S. team. Steffen could be loaned out while he goes through that process.”

On Alba, Caught Offside’s Ron Carne writes: “Man City and Juventus are both reportedly eyeing a move for Barcelona’s Jordi Alba amid ongoing uncertainty over his contract situation.

“Having made 18 appearances so far this season already, it’s clear that the Spanish international remains a crucial figure for coach Ernesto Valverde, but question marks are being raised over his future with the Catalan giants.

“As reported by Tuttosport, both Man City and Juventus are keeping tabs on his current situation at Barcelona, particularly after he raised doubts over his own future by questioning the club’s approach and urgency in sorting out his contract renewal.”

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