Conjecture, gossip and the same old names in the frame. It’s time for today’s roundup of the back pages from across the newspapers.
As the Manchester City players returned to training in preparation for the new season, media speculation about how the squad will change before the first Premier League game away at Brighton continued apace.
And we start today with an article in the Independent that says any Blues move for Alexis Sanchez will be blocked by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
Miguel Delaney, the Independent’s chief football writer, believes Sanchez craves a reunion with Pep Guardiola, whom he worked under at Barcelona, but says Wenger is determined to hang on to the Chilean.
Bayern Munich were understood to be interested, a move Wenger favoured over allowing him to switch to the Etihad, but the German side are thought to have been put off by the player’s asking price.
“Arsene Wenger is obstinately digging in over Alexis Sanchez’s future, leading many close to the player and manager to believe that the Chilean could yet stay at Arsenal next season,” Delaney writes.
“While the 28-year-old is now widely believed to desire a move to Manchester City - and a reunion with former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola - above all else, and is refusing to sign a new contract at the Emirates as his current deal runs out next year, there is still no willingness on the part of Wenger to let him go to a rival.
“It had been felt that a move to Bayern Munich could be on, as they had been making progress in June over a prospective transfer that would at least have been more palatable to the Arsenal boss, but the German champions have ultimately baulked at the high price demanded by Wenger.”
The Manchester Evening News believe a move for Dani Alves remains alive, despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain.
In fact, James Robson says City will bring in four new full-backs this summer, with Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand also set to arrive at the Etihad.
“City have remained confident Alves will reunite with Guardiola, who he worked with at Barcelona,” Robson writes.
“They are expecting him in Manchester this week to complete the formalities of a two-year deal after leaving Juventus as a free agent.
“But PSG’s interest has placed some doubt over the move in recent days, with the French club so far refusing to give up in their pursuit of the right back.
“Guardiola is determined to bring in as many as four new full backs this summer, as part of his £300m spending spree.
“As well as Alves, he is targeting Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Ryan Bertrand.”
Meanwhile, Goal have produced a handy guide to City’s US Tour.
The Blues head Stateside later this week as they prepare to play three warm-up matches ahead of the new season.
And there are plenty of details in Goal’s article to make sure Blues fans across the world are fully prepared for what lies ahead.
“Guardiola will first take his squad to Houston, Texas for a Manchester derby against United at NRG Stadium, the 71,795-capacity home of the NFL's Houston Texans, on July 20,” they write.
“They will then take a three-hour flight out to Los Angeles, California, to face Real Madrid at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum six days later.
“Unlike many of the new, state-of-the-art venues selected for the ICC, the Coliseum is a huge bowl opened in the 1920s and holds 93,000 fans. It is the home of the USC Trojans college football team and will also serve the NFL's Los Angeles Rams temporarily.”
It’s well worth reading.
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And, finally, ESPN’s Simon Curtis says this season could define Guardiola’s City legacy.
“With Manchester City's players reassembling for the first painful stretches of preseason training, the inevitable pressure cooker of being a manager at the pointy end of the Premier League begins its annual growth spurt,” Curtis writes. “Having Pep Guardiola as manager means City can relax a little, as there are few better options to have in control of your club's immediate playing destiny.
“Having begun his tenure in Manchester with an unprecedented blank sheet, Guardiola is being widely predicted to bring home the bacon this time round. Despite the high expectations, one might expect his unsullied reputation to win him more time than most. The Catalan's simple target is to relaunch City as a major domestic force after a lull in proceedings under predecessor Manuel Pellegrini and introduce the club to the very highest echelons of European football. And keep them there.”
That’s all for today, Blues. Join us again tomorrow.