Defensive reinforcements, Algeria’s over-reliance on Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden’s emergence as a vital player for young England… these are the stories making the headlines this morning.
We’ll begin with the major media talking point of the week – the reported transfer tug-of-war between City and United for Leicester’s Harry Maguire.
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“The two city rivals are keen on the £80million-rated England international but have been put off by the sizeable fee for a defender that Leicester are holding out for.
“And according to the Sun, if Maguire holds out for City, he could find himself stuck at Leicester with the Premier League champions only willing to pay £60m to acquire him.
“United are said to be the more willing of the two clubs to meet Leicester's valuation but the player is reported to be angling for a move to the blue half of Manchester.
“Missing out on Maguire would represent a bitter disappointment for United having already failed in attempts to entice Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt this summer - the Dutchman reported to be closing on a switch to Juventus.
“City are searching for a replacement for Vincent Kompany after the former club captain departed to become player-manager at Anderlecht this summer.”
Meanwhile, former City player Djamel Belmadi, now boss of Algeria, believes his team need to share responsibility for progress at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Belmadi believes relying on Riyad Mahrez to carry Algeria through games is not the way forward – despite the City star being the poster boy of Algerian football.
“Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has urged his side to focus less on their star player Riyad Mahrez if they are to be successful at the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
“The Desert Foxes kicked off their campaign in the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Kenya on Sunday, with Mahrez scoring one of the goals.
“However, the 43-year-old gaffer has warned the Desert Foxes from over-reliance on the Manchester City winger.
‘I do not like highlighting players. We need to put a little less focus on Mahrez if we want to make this a big tournament for us,’ he told the press after their win over the Harambee Stars.
“Belmadi, who won 20 caps for Algeria, recalled their previous struggles in their opening games and is delighted with the impressive start in the tournament.
‘It means a lot to win the first match in any competition. We used to start poorly, it was always difficult for us to start well at the Africa Cup,’ he continued.
‘In our history, most of the time, we often lost the first match, so this is also a message to the players that we can go far.’
Elsewhere, Sports Witness carry the quotes of a talented teenager who they claim is keen on joining the Premier league champions.
They write: “Earlier today, we had a story explaining the recent claims which link Manchester City to the Allianza Lima right-back Kluivert Aguilar.
“The report was made by a Peruvian journalist, who claimed the information was given by a Benfica coach, which was later denied by the Portuguese club.
“Still, the story is still a hot topic in the Peruvian press. Even Aguilar himself has been talking about the potential move.
“The 16-year-old was interviewed by Ovacion on Sunday and sounded pretty hopeful that he could be moving to the Premier League champions soon.
‘I’m calm and the subject is being seen by my father and my representative. For the moment I’m fine and I take it easy, I only heard the news two days ago, I still have nothing confirmed,’ Aguilar told Ovacion.
‘I’d like to go to Manchester City, I would be proud to go there because it would represent a whole country, I’m sure they followed me in the South American U17, where I could show more, and maybe they liked my way of playing. It would be a total change for both my family and me. I train and play every moment in order to improve as a footballer.”
Finally, Phil Foden’s omission from the England Under-21 starting line-up against Romania is still causing debate.
Foden played the full game in the 3-3 draw with Croatia last night, but the The Telegraph suggest there was some head-scratching as to why he didn’t start the must-win game against the Romanians.
They report: “Aidy Boothroyd’s standing among his England Under-21 players has taken a hit over his controversial omission of Phil Foden against Romania last week.
“England crashed out of the European Under-21 Championship finals last Friday after a 4-2 defeat against Romania in Cesena. They played their final Group C match against Croatia on Monday night.
“Foden was left out of the starting line-up for the game and that decision is understood to have caused shock and bewilderment among the Manchester City midfielder’s England team-mates.
“Boothroyd sought to defend the decision by claiming Foden - who had scored a wonder goal in England’s 2-1 defeat to France in their opening group game - was “dead tired” and his playing time needed to be managed.
“But that defence was met with confusion in the dressing room given Foden’s importance and the must win nature of the Romania game. Foden left a huge impression on team-mates in training and suggestions the 19-year-old was fatigued baffled members of the squad.”
That’s it for this morning… more gossip and rumour tomorrow.