A Spanish club is reportedly ready to test the waters by making an approach for Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko.
The versatile Ukrainian, who can operate as a left-back or further up the pitch in central midfield, is liked by Pep Guardiola. He turns to the 25-year-old when a position needs filling, despite having such a large squad.
Zinchenko’s reputation as a utility man means he does not start in the Premier League as much as some of his team-mates. Indeed, he has only made seven appearances in the competition this season, registering one assist in that time.
The player’s contract runs until June 2024, putting City in a strong position in terms of a transfer.
Nevertheless, The Sun report Real Betis are aiming to test their resolve by preparing to move in. They have already made an ‘enquiry’ about Zinchenko’s availability, too.
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However, it looks set to be good news for Guardiola and City as the player has no intention of leaving Manchester.
He wants to continue being a part of the trophy-laden squad and to help them win more silverware this season.
Zinchenko is also gunning for a new deal at the Etihad, which could see him spend the majority of his prime with the club.
The report does not state how far Betis are willing to push to sign him. Presumably they would back off should City reveal a new contract is in the works.
Zinchenko has made over 110 appearances for the Citizens so far, scoring on just two occasions. He has won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup and four Carabao Cup trophies since joining in 2017.
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Man City target being ‘positioned’ for transfer
Meanwhile, reports claim City and Chelsea target Matthijs de Ligt is being ‘positioned’ for a transfer by his agent, Mino Raiola.
Guardiola apparently wants to partner de Ligt with Ruben Dias. Chelsea, meanwhile, aim to make him Thiago Silva’s successor at Stamford Bridge.
According to Goal, who cite Italian outlet La Repubblica, Raiola is pushing the centre-back to leave Juventus.
The Dutchman apparently has a release clause worth €150million (£125m) which becomes active this summer. But Juve are now willing to accept €65m (£54.1m) for the star, in a surprising turn of events.
But it will not be easy for City or Chelsea to complete a deal, despite the 22-year-old’s reduced transfer fee. The report claims de Ligt is Xavi’s ‘dream signing’ at Barcelona.
That means the Blaugrana are preparing to enter the race for his services. They could take him to the Nou Camp in the summer, as a January deal is unlikely.
The race for one of the world’s best young central defenders is clearly hotting up.
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Kyril Louis-Dreyfus sends message to Sunderland fans following promotion
Sunderland chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has praised all connected to the club after they secured promotion back to the Championship.
A message from our Chairman 🏆💬#SAFC
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) May 24, 2022
After a tough campaign, which involved the owner making the bold call to sack Lee Johnson and bring in Alex Neil, the Black Cats managed to come through the play-offs after seeing off Sheffield Wednesday and then beating Wycombe 2-0 at Wembley.
The boss managed to bring everyone together at a crucial part of the season, with the fans fully behind the former Norwich City chief.
And, speaking to the club’s media, Louis-Dreyfus sent a message thanking the players, staff and particularly the support as Sunderland prepare for life back in the Championship.
“I would like to thank all our fans around the world that have continued to support our club throughout what has been a difficult few years. Saturday was for you and together we achieved our goal.
“I commend our players and first-team staff for a great season and also thank all of our employees, who work so hard every day and give everything for the club. Without you, this success would not have been possible.”
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It’s nice for Sunderland fans to hear from Louis-Dreyfus and he is understandably very proud of all involved with this promotion push.
As he says, it’s a real team effort from everyone at the club, but the main credit obviously has to go to Neil and the players who delivered in the high-pressure play-off games.
Now, an exciting summer awaits, and Louis-Dreyfus needs to back Neil in the market to ensure the squad is ready to go again next season.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
Dejphon Chansiri provides insight to Sheffield Wednesday’s summer transfer plans
With expectation levels expected to mount once the new League One season gets underway, Darren Moore will be hoping it is second-time lucky with Sheffield Wednesday in the third tier.
The Owls were defeated in their semi-finals of the play-offs, with Sunderland progressing to the final, before eventually succeeding at Wembley.
With the summer transfer window right around the corner, the recruitment at Hillsborough will be well underway, with those at the club likely to be monitoring several different markets.
Owner Dejphon Chansiri has provided an insight into the club’s recruitment plan, suggesting that the UK market is not the sole option, telling Yorkshire Live: “Our approach is the same every season. We look in the UK market first before looking at options abroad.
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“We look to see who is available and will fit in with the team, it depends what we need. We will try to bring in the best players whether they are permanent or on loan.”
The Owls will be looking to strengthen to ensure that they avoid the lottery that is the play-offs, with three of the last seasons ending with play-off heartbreak.
Possessing a strong core to the squad, Moore will be hoping to keep some of his more integral first-teamers, with the likes of Barry Bannan, Lee Gregory and Josh Windass likely to attract attention.
Prioritising recruiting in the UK first, if the Owls still seek further additions, then it appears that they will cast their eyes elsewhere.
It remains to be seen if it will come to that as Wednesday prepare for another campaign in League One, and naturally, fans will be setting their sights on the top two.