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Media Watch

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Media: City closing in on Dutch starlet?

MEDIA WATCH: Are City keeping tabs on Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong?

MEDIA WATCH: Are City keeping tabs on Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong?

More transfer gossip and some truly glowing praise for Pep Guardiola…it’s time for this morning’s Media Watch!

We’ll start with the transfer gossip, and there’s a report in the Star, written by Paul Hetherington, that says we are keen on Ajax's 21-year-old midfielder Frenkie de Jong. 

Tonight's opponents Tottenham are also understood to be keeping tabs on De Jong, but Hetherington says City are now in pole position. 

"Manchester City take on Tottenham on Monday night having already won a battle with the London club for Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong," he writes

"City could even sign De Jong in the January transfer window, then loan him back to Ajax for the rest of the season.

"That would enable both the player and his Dutch club to stick to their pledge that De Jong would remain in Amsterdam for the whole of this campaign."

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Meanwhile, Oliver Holt, writing in the Mail, says Guardiola has turned City into a “football Mecca”.

Holt believes the work Guardiola has done, which builds on the principles he learned under the tutelage of Johan Cruyff, means City are now on the brink of a period of dominance not seen in the Premier League since Manchester United’s glory days under Sir Alex Ferguson.

He writes: "The Manchester City manager was reminded how he and Cruyff used to eat at elBulli before the start of every season and how struck he was by the ambition of both men’s creativity. ‘Both had a real genius so they changed,’ Guardiola said. ‘They are people who, if we are in the desert, they will build something and millions of people will follow.’

"Manchester City is not a desert but it is easy to extend the imagery to the impact Guardiola is making on the club and on English football. City had won the league title four times before Guardiola arrived and have a rich and layered history but that does not change the fact that he is taking a team that is not even the most famous club in its own town and turning it into a football Mecca.

"Everything about City at the moment suggests that they are on the verge of a period of dominance not seen in our domestic game since Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge at Old Trafford. Like the heroes he referenced, Guardiola is building something, too. With his energy, his verve and his intensity, he is trying to create his own masterpiece in England’s north west."

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And we'll finish today's Media Watch with an in-depth article by Adam Bate at Sky Sports.

Bate looks at City’s defensive record in detail and argues that Guardiola, renowned for his attack-minded approach, is, in fact, the best defensive coach in world football.

"Firstly, let us acknowledge the blindingly obvious. Guardiola's way works," Bate writes. "In each of his first seven seasons in top-flight management - four of them with Barcelona followed by three more with Bayern - his teams had the best defensive record in their league.

"His Manchester City side repeated the trick last season. The result? Guardiola has had the team with the best defensive record in the league more times than he has won the league. Think about this. He has had the best defence more times than he has had the best attack.

"It might be counter-intuitive, but on these numbers alone, it would not be outrageous to regard Guardiola - the man who doesn't coach tackles - as a defensively-minded coach.

"Even in his initial presentation upon being named as Barcelona coach back in the summer of 2008, he spoke of the desire to build a "solid and balanced" team. Privately, in his first meeting with the players he talked of "order and discipline" as being his priorities.

"It took some time for that control to become apparent at City but it is obvious now. Guardiola's team have gone eight-and-a-half hours without conceding a goal. It's not luck. The underlying numbers reveal how the opposition have been starved of opportunities."

That's all for this morning's review of the back pages - but stay with us throughout the day as we continue our build up to tonight's Premier League match away at Tottenham. 

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Big transfer news, a look ahead to Monday’s big game at Tottenham and a huge vote of confidence from a Premier League manager…it’s time for your Sunday media roundup!

All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from across the media.