(Sports News): “Next time you write this, that Sergio is not in my plans, you can call me or Simon (Heggie, Manchester City press officer)
– you may not have my number but you can call Simon – and we can explain what is the truth.”
This is what Pep Guardiola told journalists on Friday following rumours that he is set to offload star striker Sergio Aguero.
So we can only assume that the Sunday Express’s Neil Fissler phoned up Pep last night - or Simon - and was told that not only is Aguero on his bike, but City are already making plans to replace him with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
That is what they are "exclusively” telling us today, anyway. The paper claims that things are “tense” between Sergio and Pep, with Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Real Madrid all waiting in the wings to snap up Aguero.
Borussia Dortmund will demand £58m for Gabonese striker Aubameyang, but City will have “no problems” meeting that valuation.
It’s highly impressive that the Express have used their direct line to Pep (or Simon) to get the facts straight once and for all. Guess that’s what happens when you’re such a respected and trustworthy publication. Pep is probably reading the exclusive right now over his Shreddies, nodding appreciatively.
Because if the Express never bothered to call Pep, or Simon, and just wrote a load of twaddle in defiance of his request, you can imagine that Pep is currently hurling that bowl of Shreddies across the kitchen in a fit of rage.
You did call him though, right guys?
Guardiola has not outlined any such stipulations regarding rumours about City buying Cesc Fabregas, so the Sun on Sunday have made up one of those without fear of retribution.
The tabloid says the Citizens will make a “shock £20m move” for the Chelsea outcast in January and are even prepared to improve his £160,000-a-week salary.
If you don’t believe that, call Simon.
Guardiola’s former club, Bayern Munich, have reportedly send a scout to watch Romelu Lukaku in recent weeks - and the scout is impressed. So impressed that the German champions are planning a £65m bid for the Everton striker, says the Sun.
Lukaku is said to be “desperate to play in the Champions League”, a desire that presumably intensifies every time he loses to Burnley.
Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic seem unlikely to ever form a deadly strike partnership at Manchester United, but they may get another chance to do it in China next season.
The Daily Star Sunday says Zlatan is “wanted by the cash-rich Chinese Super League”, without naming any of the actual clubs that might be interested.
But if it turns out to be Shanghai SIPG, then he could team up with Rooney again, because the side managed by Sven-Goran Eriksson are poised to offer Rooney £500,000 a week to join them (Sunday Mirror).
Elsewhere, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said LA Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard is “always welcome” back at Anfield (Observer), Juventus want to sign Brazilian defender Thiago Silva from PSG on a free transfer (Goal) and Gareth Bale is “finally ready to put pen to paper” on a new contract at Real Madrid (Sunday Express). “This week”, according to that man Neil Fissler again. If it was anyone else saying that, we probably wouldn’t believe them.
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