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Media Watch

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Media Watch: City eye teenage duo?

Thursday’s Media Watch carries stories linking City with two exciting teenage European talents.

There’s also praise for one of the most fondly remembered Blues of recent years as well as news of a memorable overseas Cup success for one of our on-loan youngsters.

We start with the Guardian who claim that the Blues are in talks over a deal to sign highly-rated Croatian teenager Ante Palaversa.

Pep Guardiola, of course, has been at pains to stress that the Blues will not be making major acquisitions in the January transfer window.

But that hasn’t stopped reports of potential arrival of younger talent.

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Reporting for the Guardian, Fabrizio Romana and Aleksandr Holiga write: “City have reached an agreement with Hajduk Split to sign the highly rated 18-year-old central midfielder Ante Palaversa.

“Palaversa, the Croatian Under-19 captain, has made huge progress in the past few years, first in the youth teams at Hajduk but also, crucially, after making the step up to the first team last summer.

“He is already rated as one of the best central midfielders in the Croatian league and is the outstanding prospect of Hajduk’s next generation.

“He has some similarities to Toni Kroos with his football intelligence and reading of the game setting him apart.

“At the moment he is playing as a number eight but could develop into an excellent number six, where, at the moment, City are heavily reliant on the 33-year-old Fernandinho.”

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Meanwhile, the Daily Mail claim that City – along with Premier League rivals Spurs – are keeping a watching brief on Leeds United youngster Jack Clarke.

David Kent scribes: “Leeds are stalling on offering starlet Jack Clarke a new contract - putting the Premier League's elite on red alert.

“The 18-year-old winger is viewed as one of the best young prospects in the country with the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham all keeping tabs on the teenager.

“Clarke's current deal still has two-and-a-half years left to run – but there has been talk of an extension as Leeds look to cement his long-term future.

“However, talks are yet to get underway, news that will alert the forward's admirers.”

Staying on the theme of transfers but looking to the long term, the Manchester Evening News carries an opinion piece from Simon Bajkowski on the key appeal for players of Blues boss Pep Guardiola.

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Bajkowski believes that Pep’s standing within the game and unrivalled reputation not only as a supreme manager but also as a coach who helps great players improve even further helps stands him apart.

He writes: “Ever since he exploded onto the world stage with three trophies in his first season as Barcelona coach, Guardiola has been a magnet for the world's best players and prospects to come and take their game to the next level.

“Ten years on, the pull has only grown stronger.

“City's bosses pulled out all the stops to get Guardiola to the Etihad and the number of players that have followed him to Manchester alone have made it more than worth their while.

“Just as Guardiola hails Marcelo Bielsa for the respect he is held in by those he has worked with, the overwhelming majority of footballers that have come across City's coach have only praise for him.

“If the last few weeks have reminded everyone of his special contribution to English football as the Blues roared back to beat Liverpool before sticking seven past Rotherham and nine past Burton, Gabriel Jesus is all the City board need to think of for them to make the most of their manager's appeal in the transfer market while he is at the club.”

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Meanwhile, former City legend Pablo Zabaleta feature in the first instalment of FourFourTwo magazine’s list of the 100 best bargains in Premier League history.

The Argentine defender carved himself into City folklore in his years at the Club after joining from Spanish side Espanyol in the summer of 2008.

And FourFourTwo’s effusive verdict on Zaba will strike a chord with every Blue.

They recall: “Not just one of the best players in Manchester City’s history, but one of its best-loved, too.

“Signing the day before Robinho did – and for a fifth of the price – Zabaleta quickly won over the City faithful with his heart-on-sleeve defending and lung-busting exertions down the flank.

“His remarkable consistency barely let up throughout his nine years at Eastlands. But it was his grace and generosity off the pitch, and his embracing of the local area, that makes him a true City legend.

Elsewhere, Goal.com describes how Phil Foden has seen his emergence further recognised by his inclusion as FIFA 19’s future stars.

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Goal.com report: “Foden, Matthijs de Ligt and Vinicius Jr. have been unveiled as the first three cards in a brand new promotion in FIFA 19's Ultimate Team.

“The three young stars are part of a new promotion for EA Sports' hugely successful football franchise

“The promotion, titled FUT Future Stars, will highlight some of the world's best young players via cards projecting their potential future ratings.

“All cards included in the promotion will feature players that are 23 or younger that are not yet considered an established star.”

Finally, Aleix Garcia, currently on a season-long loan at our partner club Girona FC and his team-mates had a night to remember in the Copa del Rey, knocking out Atletico Madrid.

BBC Sport reports: “Atletico Madrid suffered a shock exit from the Copa del Rey as Girona claimed a 3-3 second-leg draw to advance to the last eight on away goals.

“Atletico made the perfect start through Nikola Kalinic's opener.

“Valery Fernandez and Cristhian Stuani struck to swing the tie Girona's way before Angel Correa's equaliser.

“Antoine Griezmann's goal looked to have put the hosts into the next round but Seydou Doumbia scored with two minutes left to send Girona through.”

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