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Express: Hart on track for PSG return?

WORLD GREAT: Lionel Messi

WORLD GREAT: Lionel Messi

The Daily Express suggest this morning that Joe Hart could be back in time for City’s Champions League quarter-final with PSG.

Though there’s been no official word as yet, if Hart is on track to face the Parisians, it will hand Manuel Pellegrini a welcome boost after an injury-plagued season for his squad.

The Express report: “City expect to have England goalkeeper Joe Hart available for their crucial Champions League quarter-final first leg trip to Paris St-Germain in two weeks

“The news, a boost for beleaguered manager Manuel Pellegrini, comes on the day Raheem Sterling was ruled out for six weeks with a groin injury he collected in the weekend derby loss to United.

“Hart, too, was injured in that defeat, pulling a calf muscle. But the injury is not as bad as first feared and he may now only miss one fixture - the visit to Bournemouth a week on Saturday.”

We’ll return to injury speculation shortly, but first some interesting reports are emerging about a Champions League shake-up.

The Blues were widely reported to be one of several clubs discussing some kind of European super league, but that speculation looks to have been well wide of the mark.

Sky Sports report: “UEFA are in talks with clubs to change the format of the Champions League from 2018.

“One of the proposals under discussion is an expanded knockout round followed by a group stage made up of eight teams in two groups.

“If the proposal were to be adopted there would be more games between the so-called 'big clubs'. Each team in the group stage would be guaranteed a total of 14 matches home and away.”

The MEN continue the thread; “Manchester City have dismissed the idea that they were part of a conspiracy to form a European Super League.

“But the Blues have discussed a revamp of the Champions League which top European clubs would lead to more meaningful games.

“City chief executive Ferran Soriano was pictured leaving a meeting between English football's big five of City, United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool and sports venture firm Relevent Sports.

“That was interpreted as a bid to set up a Super League, but City claim it was mainly to thrash out summer tour business – but that the Champions League format was discussed.”

The Blues will be focused on Champions League qualification as much as anything after the international break, but will have to do so without Raheem Sterling.

London24 suggest the winger may struggle to play again this season, though once again this is not an official line from the Club.

They write: “Sterling and Joe Hart picked up injuries in Sunday’s 1-0 Barclays Premier League derby defeat to Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.

“Speaking after the game, City boss Manuel Pellegrini suggested both players were facing up to a month out.

“But, with scans having now been done, it is understood forward Sterling could be facing as much as twice that duration on the sidelines, while goalkeeper Hart could be back in a couple of weeks.

“The news regarding Sterling means the 21-year-old is set to sit out nearly all if not the whole of the rest of City’s Premier League campaign, which has eight more fixtures and ends with a trip to Swansea on May 15.

“A six-week layoff would see him return in time for the visit of Arsenal in a game that could decide a top four place or even the title if the Gunners go on a run of results.

“The Champions League final is not until May 28, so if City - who take on Paris St Germain in the last eight - make that, he should be back available by then.”

More City gossip and rumour tomorrow…

First Team News

City to face United in China

TOUR OF DUTY: Jihai Sun helps luanch the preseason visit to China, along with ex-United defender Nemanja Vidic

City will play United in China this summer in the first ever Manchester derby to take place outside the United Kingdom.

The game will take place at the iconic Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing on 25 July as part of the International Champions Cup China, before the Blues play Borussia Dortmund on 28 July in booming technology hub Shenzhen.

What the Media Says

Independent: City searching for game changer

WORLD GREAT: Lionel Messi

So, it’s official. City will play United in the first ever Manchester derby outside of the UK – but how about we take a look at some transfer news?

There is talk of a deal that would surely top the lot were it to ever materialise; Lionel Messi to City.