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With no midweek game (for once!), the media outlets of the footballing world are packing their pages with alternative topics, and unsurprisingly, the majority focus on transfer tales.
More on that later… For now, we’ll kick off with the joyous news that England Women have won the SheBelieves Cup, with no fewer than nine Blues amongst Phil Neville’s squad.
The Lionesses triumphed 3-0 over 2011 World Cup winners Japan to lift the trophy for the first time, with lifelong Blue Keira Wash claiming an assist, spraying a delightful cross-field pass into Beth Mead’s path for the third – a ball hailed as the ‘pass of the tournament’.
Coach Neville expressed his pride for Walsh’s overall display in the States, deeming the youngster ‘the best midfielder’ of the competition.
“I spoke to Keira after the game against USA last year and we spoke about how she felt after that tournament,” Neville explained, as reported by the Telegraph.
“She was really honest with me and I was honest with her. She’s come back now and I don’t see any midfielders with her kind of quality.
“She’s maturing and her personality’s coming out now.
“We’ve probably had our ups and downs as a coach-player relationship because I’ve left her out, I’ve left her off the bench - I’ve been really tough on her, to be honest with you, and there’s been times when she’s probably thought: this coach doesn’t believe in me.
“But it was actually part of the bigger picture and we’re seeing the rewards now. As a midfield player in this tournament, I think she’s probably been the best.”
Similarly, goalkeeper Ederson has received praise from Brazil legend Dida, who asserts the shot-stopper – along with his Liverpool counterpart Alisson – are ‘at the forefront of modern-day goalkeeping’.
“The quality of Brazilian goalkeepers has certainly risen, and these names confirm it,” Dida told Press Association Sport – the quotes shared by Four Four Two, amongst others.
“The technique of modern goalkeepers includes the ability to play with the feet and a deeper reading of the match.
“Certainly, Brazilian goalkeepers can compete at international levels.”
Elsewhere, United legend Rio Ferdinand has once again spoken highly of City, tipping the Blues for Champions League glory, following Read Madrid’s shock exit at the hands of Ajax.
He told BT Sport: “‘I don’t think many teams will want to face our English clubs. We play fast, dynamic football.
“I wouldn’t want to play against Man City or Liverpool and I think City are my favourites right now.
“This tournament has opened up. It doesn’t matter who you get, you’re going to be facing real quality.”
Turning attentions to transfer gossip (and there’s plenty of it!), the Telegraph claim City have received an asking price for alleged target Ben Chilwell.
According to James Ducker: “Manchester City may have to break the world transfer record for a defender to stand any chance of prising England left back Ben Chilwell away from Leicester City this summer.
“But new Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers considers Chilwell as integral to his plans and, with the 22-year-old contracted until June 2024 and the wealthy Midlands club under no pressure to sell, Manchester City face a serious fight to sign the player.
“It means it is likely to take a fee in excess of the £75 million that Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk last year - a world record for a defender - to persuade Leicester to come to the negotiating table.”
Elsewhere, Corriere dello Sport believe the Blues have officially ‘joined the race’ to sign Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo.
Sport Witness translate: “As has been repeated many times in the Italian press, the Serie A club have been trying to get their new prized asset to renew his deal, and that appears to be all sorted, with the 19-year-old expected to put pen to paper at the end of the season.
“However, Manchester City have been unable to ignore all the attention surrounding Zaniolo, meaning their ears have pricked up and they are now prepared to ‘invest on a gamble’.
“Corriere point out that judging by the midfielder’s recent performances, it would be a rather safe bet, but convincing him to leave Roma could be tricky.
“Real Madrid and Juventus are also hovering with Manchester City, but the same applies for them.”
There’s more too, as Sports Mole insist City are set to battle Barcelona and Juventus for Luan Candido.
Writes Daniel Lewis: “Manchester City have reportedly been given the chance to snap up Barcelona and Juventus target Luan Candido from Palmeiras because of a long-standing agreement between the two clubs.
“The 18-year-old has been part of the Brazilian club's ranks since 2015 and is considered the heir of Real Madrid full-back Marcelo.
“Barcelona have already made a move for the Brazil age-grade international, while Juventus scouts - coordinated by Fabio Paratici - have also been closely monitoring the defender, but Calciomercato suggests that City have first dibs.
“Candido, previously linked with Lyon and Borussia Dortmund, is also capable of playing as a winger.”
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