All posts by Lucas Flanagan

Aymeric Laporte injury: Guardiola left with central defensive headache

Aymeric Laporte was forced off the pitch with what appeared to be a serious knee injury during Manchester City’s 4-0 victory against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon.

The 25-year-old collided with Brighton defender Adam Webster whilst attempting to stop a counter attack in the 34th minute at the Etihad Stadium.

Laporte, who is uncapped on the international stage, had just been called up to Didier Deschamps’ France squad for the first time ahead of their upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Albania and Andorra.

It is thought that the defender could be out of action for a significant period, although the extent of his injury is yet to be revealed. 

A long-term absence for Laporte – who Guardiola recently hailed as the best left-sided central defender in Europe – could have a significant impact on Manchester City’s season, with the defender playing a key role for his side since signing in January 2018. 

The injury adds the Frenchman to a growing list of absentees within the City squad, with fellow defender John Stones, Gabriel Jesus, Benjamin Mendy and Leroy Sane all currently sidelined. 

Stones, 25, has missed City’s previous two matches after suffering a thigh injury and was not selected in Gareth Southgate’s upcoming England squad.

That leaves Nicolas Otamendi as the only recognised centre-back currently fully-fit in Pep Guardiola’s squad.

The summer departure of former captain Vincent Kompany, who re-joined boyhood club Anderlecht in July, could come back to haunt City’s hierarchy having decided against securing a replacement during the summer transfer window.

However, Guardiola claims that City could not afford to sign a new central defender in the summer.

Guardiola said: “We could not buy like opponents or teams offer us or ask for players.

“Of course we spent a lot two seasons ago, but last season one player, this season a little bit more, so we could not pay the money wanted.

“But we have an alternative and sometimes when that [an injury like Laporte’s] happens, the team unites better and we are going to find solutions to do that.”

John Stones could be in contention to return to City’s squad following the international break, while Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho  who replaced Laporte during Saturday’s win  is said to be a further option at centre-half. 

Guardiola added that Kyle Walker could also be utilised centrally, along with academy graduates Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis, despite neither of the youthful pair having appeared in the Premier League. 

Manchester City return to Premier League action after the international break with a trip to newly-promoted Norwich City on September 14.


Transfer round-up: Eriksen set to remain at Spurs?

Christian Eriksen had been linked with a move away from England

Despite the transfer window for England’s top two divisions being closed for almost three weeks, clubs across Europe have until Monday to add to their squads. 

We take a look at the latest news and gossip from across the continent with just under a week of the window remaining.

Barca continue Neymar pursuit

Neymar failed to report back to PSG training in July

Barcelona are making a last-ditch attempt to land Brazilian playmaker Neymar, who departed the Camp Nou two years ago for Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain.

The forward’s world-record transfer to the French champions in 2017 has gone far from to plan, and Neymar refused to report for pre-season training back in July. He remains to train alone in Paris, although this is thought to be as a result of a specific training plan, rather than the speculation over his future.

Representatives of the Catalan club have flown to Paris for talks with the French champions over a possible loan move for the 27-year-old, a deal which would include an obligatory £155m permanent transfer next summer. 

AS have reported that Barcelona are willing to sell out-of-favour midfielder Ivan Rakitic before Monday’s deadline, and PSG is the most likely destination for the Croatian international, so it remains to be seen whether Rakitic could be used as part of the Neymar deal. 

Real Madrid are still interested in signing the Brazilian, but AS are also reporting that PSG would demand Vinicius Junior as part of any deal.

Inter confident over Sanchez loan

Inter Milan remain in talks with Manchester United over a loan move for Alexis Sanchez, according to Sky in Italy. 

Sanchez hasn’t appeared for United this season

It is understood the season-long loan for the Chilean forward would cost the Serie A outfit up to £11m. 

Sanchez has been subject to a move away from Old Trafford all summer having been less than impressive since his move from Arsenal 19 months ago, scoring just three league goals in 32 appearances.

The 30-year-old is yet to appear for United this season, however a recent injury to Anthony Martial, sustained in their 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace, could tempt Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to pull the plug on Sanchez’s late move away.

But Inter are confident that Martial’s injury won’t be a stumbling block and are hopeful of completing a deal in the coming days.

Eriksen set to remain in North London

Christian Eriksen looks set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur with the European transfer deadline less than a week away, despite suggesting earlier in the summer that he wanted to leave the club. 

Speaking to Danish news outlet Ekstra Bladet back in June following Spurs’ Champions League final loss to Liverpool, Eriksen stated his intention to move on, saying that he was eager to ‘try something new’.

It is thought that Eriksen was hopeful of a move to Spain, with interest reported from both Real Madrid and Barcelona, but a deal has failed to materialise for the midfielder. 

The Danish playmaker has less than a year remaining on his current contract at Spurs and, according to the Daily Mail, is set to snub a bumper new £200k-per-week contract. 

Eriksen has started just one of Tottenham’s opening three Premier League fixtures amid his uncertain future, and he will be available to open pre-contract talk with another club in January if a new contract is unable to be agreed. 

Spurs full-back Serge Aurier could also be on the move before Monday’s deadline, with reports in France suggesting AC Milan are interested in the Ivorian. However, it is unlikely the Italian club will match Spurs’ £25m asking price.

United target ‘offered’ to Real Madrid

Sporting Lisbon star Bruno Fernandes is being linked with a late move to Real Madrid after his club have offered his services for just £64m, according to The Sun. 

Both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur passed up the opportunity to sign the sought-after attacking midfielder earlier in the summer with his valuation not being met by either club. 

But Los Blancos are considering a late move for Fernandes if they are unable to land either Paul Pogba or Neymar. 

The Portugal international netted an impressive 32 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions for Sporting during the 2018/19 season. 

Fernandes scored 32 goals in all competitions last season