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Man City slowly accepting they must sell unheralded star courted by ‘leading’ Prem sides

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Several Premier League sides as well as clubs in Germany and Italy are chasing impressive Man City star Gavin Bazunu who could force his way out, per a report.

Gavin Bazunu may not be a name all that familiar to some football fans. However, given his rapid rise of late, he won’t be under the radar for long.

The 20-year-old goalkeeper moved to Man City from Irish outfit Shamrock Rovers in 2019. He is yet to make his senior City debut, though that has not prevented him from catching the eye of the transfer vultures.

The 10-times capped Ireland international spent last season on loan with League One side Rochdale. Another loan materialised this season, with Portsmouth securing his services in the current campaign.

Bazunu has shone on the south coast and has since become his country’s No 1 between the sticks.

At club level, he has 16 clean sheets to his name this year and has showcased his ability with his feet. At present, Bazunu has completed more passes than any other League One goalkeeper this year (811).

On the international stage, Bazunu earned rave reviews for his display against Serbia and caught the eye when saving a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty against Portugal.

Clearly, Bazunu is a man on the rise, though his path at Man City is blocked. As such, Irish outlet The42 reveal he could soon be on the move.

Growing ‘acceptance’ Gavin Bazunu could leave

Ederson is Pep Guardiola’s undisputed No 1 between the sticks. The back-up role was recently sewn up too when American Zack Steffen signed a new contract in November.

Bazunu is reportedly hopeful of maintaining regular first-team football next season and it’s claimed he does not favour a back-up role at the highest level.

City reportedly plan to offer him a new contract with a view to further loan spells elsewhere. Though the fact he’ll never displace Ederson any time soon could sway his thinking.

As such, the article notes there is an ‘acceptance’ that City will be tested in their resolve to retain Bazunu beyond the summer.

‘Leading’ clubs throughout Europe and the Premier League are claimed to be on his trail. Enquiries about both permanent and loan deals have reportedly already been made.

While no specific teams are mentioned, it’s clear interest is widespread. The European interest reportedly comes from the Bundesliga and Serie A.

The article concludes Bazunu could leave City for good this summer if a ‘suitable bid’ is lodged.

 

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Tom Barkhuizen breaks his silence following Preston North End departure

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After five-and-a-half years at Preston North End, Tom Barkhuizen’s time at Deepdale has come to an end with the publication of the club’s retained list last week.

The 28-year-old was plucked from League Two side Morecambe in 2017 by the Lilywhites, with then-manager Simon Grayson believing that he could nurture Barkhuizen into a Championship player.

Barkhuizen was able to make the step up instantly, and under Grayson’s successor Alex Neil he barely missed a Championship game in the following seasons, but the 2021-22 season was one of frustration for winger.

Quiz: 24 facts every Preston North End supporter should know about their club – Can you score full marks?



In what year was PNE officially founded as a football club?




After featuring just 13 times in the league and suffering from multiple injuries which curtailed his season in January, Barkhuizen was among the crop of senior North End players set to be released this summer, despite Peter Ridsdale stating back in November that the club were in negotiations to extend his deal.

Barkhuizen has already been linked with a plethora of clubs since his release, including Derby County, Bolton Wanderers and Rotherham United, per an Alan Nixon report, and he’s broken his silence since the announcement of his departure last week with a message on Instagram.

“The last 5 and a half years have changed my life and I’ve made some brilliant friends along the way,” Barkhuizen wrote.

“Looking forward to what the future holds this summer. Thanks for the memories.”

The Verdict

Barkhuizen always gave 100 per cent for North End and spoke his mind in interviews, which may have annoyed some at the club, but it showed that he cared.

He was for sure at his best in his first couple of seasons at Deepdale, and who can forget March of 2017 where he scooped the Championship Player of the Month award just two months after arriving from Morecambe?

The last 12 or so months though will have proved frustrating for Barkhuizen, who was moved out to a wing-back position under Frankie McAvoy and he never looked completely comfortable with it.

A fresh start may be what Barkhuizen needs altogether, and he will no doubt find a club that gives him the opportunities he feels like he deserves.

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Injury Update on Mo Salah and Availability for Champions League Final

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Liverpool recently lifted the FA Cup after defeating Chelsea in a thrilling penalty shootout on Saturday, but more than the joy of winning the cup, fans were left worried about the injury scare of Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk. Jota replaced the Egyptian international in the 33rd minute of the match after he sat on the pitch due to a groin injury.

The injury of Salah brought back the horrors of the 2018 Champions League Final for the Reds, who had already suffered heartache at centre stage. Initial expression from players and coaches also added some tension among the fans. Everyone wondered if the Egyptian king would play again this season or not.

According to their physio, Chris Morgan, he confirmed Salah suffered a groin injury before he sat on the pitch. Thankfully it was just tightness after the results from his scan, and he is likely to be available for the last of Liverpool’s matches.

Speaking to the media after the emphatic win, Klopp also addressed the situation by providing a positive update on both players who left the FA Cup Final prematurely, talking about their availability for the next game.

Salah was positive, which probably had a lot to do with his teammates sealing the victory for all of them and spoke after the match and said “I’m good”, after being asked about his injury. He also added that he would be available for the Champions League Final later this month.

Salah Is Key to Liverpool’s Quadruple Dreams

The Egyptian king has been a standout performer for Liverpool this season with 30 goals. The Reds are still in the race for the Premier League title and are in the UEFA Champions League Finals, and Salah will be their trump card in pursuit of glory.

Jürgen Klopp will now have to deal with a big injury crisis going into a must-win encounter against Southampton on Tuesday as Virgil van Dijk, Mo Salah, and Andrew Roberson are unlikely to be available for 90 minutes.

In hindsight, his main focus will be on the UEFA Champions League Final at the end of the month in Paris. However, like in the FA Cup Final and Carabao Cup Final, Klopp has shown how he has the whole squad almost operating on the same wavelength and all sharing a common goal.

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