Man City 'contact' Benzema and target Pedri, Barcelona make Ferran Torres top target, Chelsea transfer news live

MANCHESTER CITY have reportedly made contact with Karim Benzema's entourage over a huge January move.

Pep Guardiola's side are also said to be keen on luring Pedri from Barcelona, even though the Spain international has just signed a new deal.

One way to push the transfer through could be to offer Ferran Torres in return, with the winger said to be Barca's top target.

And Chelsea could be in for £84million Federico Chiesa, with the Juventus star on the Blues' radar.

Get all the latest football news, updates and transfer gossip below…

  • Joshua Mbu

    FRIEND OR FO

    Phil Foden is one of the 'most delightful football players'.

    Ex-Hammers midfielder Jack Collison has tipped the Man City midfielder to go on and become one of the best players in world football.

    Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Man City v West Ham, Collison said: "But then on the other team you've got Phil Foden, who I think is one of the most delightful football players this country has seen for a long, long time.

    "That England team is exciting, but Phil Foden really is at the forefront.

    "I actually think he's got the capabilities and the powers to go on and become on of the best players in the world.

    "He's already won so much at such a young age, it's great to see him playing such a big part of Pep Guardiola's teams/ Even as much as we know Pep loves to tinker with his line-ups, Phil Foden will always be there or thereabout in his starting line-ups for the big games."

  • Joshua Mbu

    HAMMERS IN DRIVING SEAT

    West Ham are 'in the driving seat' in the race to make the top four.

    Former Hammers midfielder Jack Collison says today's game against Man City at the Etihad is a 'free hit'.

    Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Man City v West Ham, Collison said: "But, dare I say it, West Ham are in the driving seat at the moment.

    "They're in a great position to go on and cement that fourth spot.

    "Obviously they've got a difficult game at the weekend against Man City, but the team is starting to go into those matches without any real fear.

    "It's almost a free hit for them at the Etihad – they're capable of getting a result.

    "Man City don't seem as dominant at the moment, as much as I'm a big fan of Pep Guardiola. 

    "It really is a mouth-watering Premier League this season… I'm going to go Chelsea to win it, City and Liverpool fighting out the next spot, then I'm going to be bold and say West Ham finish in fourth."

  • Joshua Mbu

    'BEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE'

    Ex-West Ham midfielder Jack Collison has hailed Declan Rice as the 'best player in the league'.

    The England international and Hammers captain has taken his game to a new level this season in a short amount of time, proving he's more than a defensive general.

    Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Man City v West Ham, Collison said: “We're watching the best player in the league right now when West Ham meet Manchester City this weekend, and that's Declan Rice, for everything he's bringing to that team.

    "Defensively, tactically, and the way he drives the team forward, it's outstanding.

    "How he can inspire the players around him at such a young age, for me he's the best player in the Premier League at the moment."

    Credit: GETTY IMAGES
  • Joshua Mbu

    HAMMER BLOW

    Former West Ham star Jack Collison is backing the Hammers to cause an upset at the Etihad this afternoon.

    West Ham have already beaten Liverpool this season and are hoping to claim another big scalp in their bid to make the top four.

    Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Man City v West Ham, Collison said: "As far as this weekend's game is concerned, you've got West Ham who are looking to bounce back after a tough result [loss to Wolves].

    "I'm going to say they do so with style; a statement 2-1 win at the Etihad for the visitors."

  • Joshua Mbu

    RIGHT BACK TO IT

    Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta relishes the challenge posed by the spectacular emergence of Reece James, writes DAN KING.

    The Spaniard has not featured in the Premier League since mid-October, mainly because of James’ excellent form down Chelsea’s right side.

    But Azpilicueta said: “I’ve known Reece for a long time, since he was in the academy, and I saw his potential.

    “He went to Wigan on loan, he did amazing. He came back and he was an important  player already, playing in the first team.

    “He has been scoring goals, giving assists, with a great level of confidence. I’m pleased for him — he’s a great talent.

    “I always try to help him in any way I can.

    "I think it’s natural when you play in Chelsea, at the moment the best team in Europe and always fighting for trophies.

    “You have competition, players coming in, new players coming through  the academy.

    “I’ve always had this healthy competition with players and always try to give my best.

    “In the end, it’s just the manager who makes the decisions.”

  • Joshua Mbu

    ‘THE CHALLENGES ARE INTERESTING’

    Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has admitted his agents are looking ‘left and right’ for a new challenge if he doesn’t sign a new deal.

    The Frenchman’s deal expires next summer and can agree a pre-contract with foreign clubs from January 1. 

    Lacazette told Telefoot: “Of course, my agents are starting to look left and right.

    “But not until January. I really want to focus myself on something.

    “And then we will see what is on offer, if the challenges are interesting, if there are beautiful projects, what role a team sees for me…there are still many questions.

    “I want to wait until January before I really think about things.”

  • Joshua Mbu

    PAY-PER-VIEW

    Andreas Pereira will be heading back to Manchester in the summer with his tail between his legs after a costly slip in the final of the Copa Libertadores, writes GIACOMO PISA

    Fans have already started comparing the incident to Steven Gerrard's famous slip that cost Liverpool the title.

    The on-loan Manchester United man has been enjoying a prolific loan spell with Flamengo, banging in the goals for the Brazilians. 

    But he was involved at the wrong end of the pitch on Saturday night. 

    With the score 1-1 between Flamengo and Palmeiras after 90 minutes a tense final headed into extra time. 

    And four minutes into the additional period Pereira dropped into the backline to pick up the ball.

    He scuffed his initial pass, before slipping on his second attempt, leaving Deyverson through on goal. 

    And the Palmeiras striker duly converted – in true Demba Ba style – to net what turned out to be the winning goal.

  • Joshua Mbu

    DEAL WITH MOB

    Former Manchester United star Patrice Evra has claimed he was ‘owned’ by The Mob at the start of career, writes NICK PARKER.

    The French left-back, 40, says he signed his first pro deal with Marsala, in Sicily, without realising it made him ‘property’ of a Mafia godfather.

    He recalls in his new autobiography, I Love This Game: “I found out this after I wanted to move to AS Roma.

    “AS Roma said, ‘We have to call off the deal because you are the property of that man’.”

    The angry gangster did not pay Evra for five months, leaving him struggling to buy food.

    He eventually signed for Monza, then Nice and Monaco before switching to United in 2006.

  • Joshua Mbu

    SUPER SUNDAY

    There's more Premier League action coming up today, but who's playing who?

    • Brentford vs Everton 2PM
    • Man City vs West Ham 2PM
    • Leicester City vs Watford 2PM
    • Burnley vs Tottenham 2PM
    • Chelsea vs Man Utd 4.30PM

    • Joshua Mbu

      FUL MARKS

      Fulham are making a big push for Angers No 10 Angelo Fulgini and could meet the £18million price, writes ALAN NIXON.

      The Cottagers know they will be losing Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa to either Napoli or even Crystal Palace at the end of the season.

      Eagles boss Patrick Vieira is a huge fan of the Cameroon international, who has been starring during his loan spell for the Napes outfit.

      With the 26-year-old having just a year left on his contract at Craven Cottage, Fulham will be forced into selling the player to avoid losing him on a free.

      And they will turn their attention to Angers ace Fulgini.

      Ivory Coast-born Fulgini has shone for Angers, but they will sell and the player is desperate to come to England.

      The 25-year-old has impressed for the Ligue 1 outfit this term, who sit sixth in the table – just two points off the Champions League spots.

    • Joshua Mbu

      HOLD THE BACK PAGE

      Manchester United hope Ralf Rangnick’s relationship with Erling Haaland will help them land the striker, writes PHIL THOMAS.

      Borussia Dortmund’s Norwegian star is wanted by a number of Europe’s top clubs, including Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

      City were in pole position as Haaland’s dad Alfie played there and Real have made a move.

      But new United interim boss Rangnick oversaw Haaland’s move from Molde to Salzburg two years ago when he was director of football for the Austrian side.

      United believe that link will enable them to sign Europe’s hottest property next summer when he has a £64million release clause.

      Haaland’s move to Salzburg rocketed the now 21-year-old into the limelight and Dortmund snapped him up a year later.

      United had hoped former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be a key factor in any deal, having given him his first big break at Molde.

    • Joshua Mbu

      DEYVER

      Palmeiras star Deyverson dived in the 2-1 Copa Libertadores final win against Flamengo after receiving a slight push in the back by the referee, writes JOSHUA MBU.

      The game was deep into extra-time with less than a minute to go when Deyverson was having words with one of his opponents.

      The referee stepped in and gave the Palmeiras star a slight push to get the game up and running again.

      But Deyverson had other ideas.

      The Brazilian shamefully dropped to the floor, faking serious injury holding his back.

      Deyverson's time wasting as well as an extra-time goal carried Palmerias over the line to their third Libertadores title against a star-studded Flamengo team.

      Deyverson was all smiles until he was touched in the back by the refereeCredit: SBT
      The Brazilian took play acting to a new level, holding his back pretending to be in significant pain
    • Joshua Mbu

      GOOD MORNING FOOTY FANS

      Managerless Manchester United visit leaders Chelsea this afternoon without suspended skipper Harry Maguire.

      United are tipped to appoint Ralf Rangnick as interim boss following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking once work permit issues are resolved in the next few days.

      And before that, stand-in chief Michael Carrick aims to follow up Tuesday's 2-0 win over Villarreal with a shock Premier League away victory.

      It's one of the Prem's biggest Sundays of the season so far.

      Third-placed Manchester City host West Ham, while new manager Antonio Conte takes troubled Tottenham to Burnley.

      Diogo Jota bagged the first two goals as Liverpool went second with yesterday's impressive 4-0 romp over Southampton.

      Thiago punished poor Saints’ defending before half-time and Virgil van Dijk blasted the fourth following a 52nd minute corner.

      Bukayo Saka needs scans on a hip injury after notching a clinical opener in Arsenal's 2-0 defeat of bottom side Newcastle.

      Saka's replacement Gabriel Martinelli volleyed the Gunners' brilliant second goal.

      Off the pitch, it's suggested Rangnick arriving at Old Trafford could help them beat neighbours City, Real Madrid and PSG to Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.

      Manchester City's Ferran Torres is being linked to Barcelona.

      And Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun is tipped for a January loan exit – with Middlesbrough thought to be leading the hunt ahead of St Etienne, Bournemouth and Swansea.

    • Ian Tuckey

      COULD RANGNICK HELP UTD LAND HAALAND?

      Ralf Rangnick could help Manchester United land Erling Haaland.

      Rangnick is tipped to become United’s interim manager  next summer, having previously signed Haaland for RB Salzburg in January 2019 before the striker joined Borussia Dortmund.

      And the Mirror suggest Rangnick wold give the Red Devils the edge ahead of Manchester City, Real Madrid and PSG in the race for Haaland.

    • Ian Tuckey

      GAME ABANDONED AMID COVID CHAOS

      Benfica's Portuguese League game with Covid-ravaged Belenenses ended in a farcical abandonment with only 17 fit players on the pitch.

      Belenenses started the game with only NINE men after 17 of their squad were struck down with the virus.

      But although club president Rui Pedro Soares refused to postpone the game, he was in tears at half-time as Benfica led 7-0.

      It sparked Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, who came through the Benfica academy, to tweet: “What is this? Am I the only one who doesn’t understand why the game hasn’t been postponed?”

      Only seven Belenenses players started the second half – the minimum required – before keeper Joao Monteiro – playing as an outfield player – booted the ball out and sat down, claiming he was injured.

      At that point ref Manuel Mota abandoned the match.

      The Belenenses players released a joint statement which read: “Today, football lost its heart.”

      Belenenses midfielder Cafu Phete recently returned from international duty in South Africa, sparking fears the infections were related to the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.

      Europe is on alert over the new mutant strain – and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new crackdown measures on Saturday.

    • Ian Tuckey

      CESAR UP FOR REECE BATTLE

      EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta relishes the challenge posed by the spectacular emergence of Reece James, writes DAN KING.

      The Spaniard has not featured in the Premier League since mid-October, mainly because of James’ excellent form down Chelsea’s right side.

      But Azpilicueta said: “I’ve known Reece for a long time, since he was in the academy, and I saw his potential.

      “He went to Wigan on loan, he did amazing. He came back and he was an important  player already, playing in the first team.

      “He has been scoring goals, giving assists, with a great level of confidence. I’m pleased for him — he’s a great talent.

      “I always try to help him in any way I can.

      "I think it’s natural when you play in Chelsea, at the moment the best team in Europe and always fighting for trophies.

      “You have competition, players coming in, new players coming through  the academy.

      “I’ve always had this healthy competition with players and always try to give my best.

      “In the end, it’s just the manager who makes the decisions.”

    • Ian Tuckey

      RALF CAN HELP UTD NICK ERLING

      EXCLUSIVE: Manchester United hope Ralf Rangnick’s relationship with Erling Haaland will help them land the striker.

      Borussia Dortmund’s Norwegian star is wanted by a number of Europe’s top clubs, including Manchester City, Liverpool, ­Chelsea and Real Madrid.

      City were in pole position as Haaland’s dad Alfie played there and Real have made a move.

      But new United interim boss Rangnick oversaw Haaland’s move from Molde to Salzburg two years ago when he was director of football for the Austrian side.

      United believe that link will enable them to sign Europe’s hottest property next summer when he has a £64million release clause.

      Haaland’s move to Salzburg rocketed the now 21-year-old into the limelight and Dortmund snapped him up a year later.

      United had hoped former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be a key factor in any deal, having given him his first big break at Molde.

      But the arrival of Rangnick could be even more decisive — especially with Solskjaer also sure to sing the praises of a move to Old Trafford.

    • Ian Tuckey

      TARK IT OR LEAVE IT

      EXCLUSIVE: West Ham will make a final bid for Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski.

      But Hammers chief David Moyes has drawn up a list of alternatives, including Liverpool’s forgotten men Nat Phillips and Ben Davies, who is on loan at Sheffield United.

      Moyes is keen to land Tarkowski whose contract is running out.

      But the Clarets will still be holding out for big money as they fight to stay in the Premier League.

      West Ham are expected to try their luck at around £6m or £7m — but that may not be enough to tempt Sean Dyche’s club to deal.

      Dyche is eager to retain the England international's services but has refused to be drawn on his contract situation.

      Earlier this month, he said: "Especially in modern football, contracts are a different ball-game.

      "Twenty years ago, players signed a contract and six months later, they’re sold.

      “All I would say about James is that he’s a fantastic professional, he has been since he’s been here and he continues to be.

      "His form this season has been absolutely top drawer.”

    • Ian Tuckey

      BARCA EYE TORRES

      Ferran Torres could move to Barcelona in January with the forward keen on the move, according to reports.

      Xavi is determined to add to his attacking options in the new year with the club also targeting Torres’ Manchester City team-mate Raheem Sterling.

      And after having a loan move for Torres rejected last summer, Barcelona could make another bid.

      Sources close to Torres claim the lure of a regular starting place at the Nou Camp is encouraging him to make a move, report The Athletic.

      Torres has failed to land a first-team spot since his move to the Etihad last year.

      He started four league games out of seven at the start of the season before picking up an injury.

      But there could be a fresh start for Torres at Barcelona when the transfer window opens.

      The forward has reportedly made the club aware of his intentions, though Torres is yet to inform Pep Guardiola.

      Barcelona director of football Mateu Alemany and chief executive Ferran Reverter also visited City’s training ground this week.

      But if Xavi is to sign Torres he must first raise funds through player sales.

      Philippe Coutinho has been heavily linked with an exit with Newcastle also keen on Ousmane Dembele.

      Rumours also suggest Frenkie De Jong could be sold but Xavi has dismissed those claims.

    • Ian Tuckey

      COULD RANGNICK HELP UTD LAND HAALAND?

      Ralf Rangnick could help Manchester United land Erling Haaland.

      Rangnick is tipped to become United’s interim manager  next summer, having previously signed Haaland for RB Salzburg in January 2019 before the striker joined Borussia Dortmund.

      And the Mirror suggest Rangnick wold give the Red Devils the edge ahead of Manchester City, Real Madrid and PSG in the race for Haaland.

    • Ian Tuckey

      BAILLY WANTS RETURN OF ‘GOOD VIBES’

      Eric Bailly says Manchester United are only thinking forwards and want to restore ‘good vibes’ to their fans.

      United visit Premier League leaders Chelsea tomorrow afternoon after beating Villarreal 2-0 on Tuesday following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking.

      And with Bailly set to start at Stamford Bridge, he said: “You know, we lost important games but that is the past. Now for me, it’s very important to focus on the future.

      “The future is Sunday and we had a good week, Tuesday against Villarreal, we have a good game.

      “Sunday, we have to keep thinking in the future and give back this good feeling and good vibe for the fans. Win the game and take points: it’s very important.”

      With Michael Carrick in temporary charge, Bailly added: “It’s very important to improve.

      “Now, you know, the team is ready, we’ve trained well and we have a good feeling. I help give my team-mates energy and that’s very important for us.”

      Credit: Getty
    • Ian Tuckey

      'INIESTA TOUGHER THAN RONALDO AND MESSI'

      Frank Lampard rates Andres Iniesta above Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the toughest opponent he ever faced.

      Chelsea legend Lampard also mentioned former England team-mate and Liverpool hero Steven Gerrard, plus Iniesta's midfield partner Xavi.

      Sacked ex-Stamford Bridge chief Lampard told The Overlap of Iniesta: "He could go either way.

      Lampard was victorious just four times out of 13 against fellow midfield master IniestaCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd

      "Not many midfield players who play in that central area wanted to take you on too much, they wanted to pass so they could run.

      "I've played great players, Stevie G, physically brilliant, but some of the time that he'd [Iniesta] open up and he could take you either way meant that you couldn't get near him.

      "Him and Xavi when they played in that [Barcelona] team were something, something else."

      Lampard landed just four victories in 13 clashes with Iniesta for club and country.

    • Ian Tuckey

      MANY FRIENDS OF FO

      EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun is pulling the scouts to his games — with French side St Etienne joining the hunt for him, writes ALAN NIXON.

      The England Under-21 cap, 20, may go out on loan in January.

      Middlesbrough are leading the pack — but his fan club is growing.

      St Etienne sent leading scout Romain Barq to watch him play last week while Bournemouth and Swansea have also had top spies at matches.

      Balogun is in sparkling form for the Gunners’ shadow side and scored for England Under-21s on November 11.

      The striker joined Arsenal‘s academy in 2008 and quickly rose through the ranks in the club’s youth level.

      The 20-year-old amassed a staggering total of 38 goals and eights assists in 41 appearances for the Under-18s.

      He has since registered 37 goals and nine assists in 60 matches across all competitions for the Under-23s.

    • Ian Tuckey

      FED FEVER

      Federico Chiesa has sparked frenzy amongst Chelsea fans by FOLLOWING the club and it’s key players on social media.

      This follows reports that Chelsea are considering an £84million move for the Juventus star.

      It is unknown when exactly the Man Utd transfer target followed the Blues players but screenshots show he’s keeping tabs on FIVE current members of the squad.

      Chiesa, 24, followed Chelsea’s Instagram account – as well as stars Christian Pulisic, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Kai Havertz, Saul and ex-Chelsea legend Eden Hazard.

      His social media activity has fans wondering about a potential move to West London.

    • Ian Tuckey

      ERLING GIVEN THE FINGER

      A fan showed Erling Haaland her middle finger while he celebrated his comeback goal against Wolfsburg.

      Haaland, 21, came off the bench to wrap Dortmund's 3-1 away victory.

      And after taking to one knee in celebration he pointed towards the home crowd, seemingly to the woman in question.

      Unhappy at seeing her team concede a goal which settled the three points, the woman responded by gesturing towards Haaland.

      She aggressively raised her mittens to flick the bird at the Norwegian while making another 'f*** you' gesture with her arms.

      The fan could also be seen saying something towards the striker which the microphones were unable to pick up.

      It likely would have amused Haaland, who returned to the pitch after missing four league games through injury.

      And he has now scored in five consecutive Bundesliga matches, taking his tally to an incredible ten goals in just seven league games.

      Watch as Erling Haaland given finger by grumpy female Wolfsburg fan after scoring off the bench for Borussia Dortmund

      Source: Read Full Article