John Stones, Aymeric Laporte to be Guardiola's Man City defensive duo
The winter window might have shut, but the rumour mill rolls on. As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest rumours and gossip. See the latest deals here.
TOP STORY: City to spend big on Laporte, Stones
The Sun reports that Manchester City want two men to kick-start the Pep Guardiola revolution: Everton's John Stones and Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte. Laporte is believed to have a £40 million buy-out clause and after Everton rejected a £38 million bid from Chelsea last summer, City are looking at a combined total that will potentially exceed £80m.
Stones and Laporte is the central defensive partnership that Guardiola wants to bring to City, especially given skipper Vincent Kompany's propensity to injury. With both of these players at just 21 years of age, they have a minimum of 10 years ahead of them in their careers -- a perfect scenario for the incoming boss as he attempts to freshen up and rebuild the Man City squad.
Everton fought tooth and nail to keep Stones last summer and managed to stave off Chelsea, but are already bracing themselves for a huge City bid which they would find difficult to turn down after their poor form this season.
As for Bilbao, they are also desperate to keep Laporte, but given his clause it will be impossible to block a move should he want to join City. The France international is one of the most coveted defenders in La Liga and both Barcelona and Real Madrid are hot on his heels, but City are hoping that the Guardiola factor will prove decisive in swaying the youngster.
United tempted by Toprak
German news outlet Kicker reports that Manchester United are interested in Bayer Leverkusen centre-back, Omer Toprak. Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich are also keeping tabs on the Turkish international, but after scouting him for the last few weeks before his injury, it's believed that United liked what they saw and want to bring him to Old Trafford this summer.
Toprak still has two years remaining on his current deal, and Leverkusen, despite their struggles this season, do not need to sell and will need to be offered a substantial sum to do so.
However, the chance to play for one of England's biggest clubs in United, not to mention the significant wage increase that would follow the move could turn the 26-year-old's head, even if they do not qualify for the Champions League.
Arsenal to fight City for Krychowiak
Arsenal and Arsene Wenger face a battle with Manchester City and Pep Guardiola for Sevilla midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak. The Sun says Wenger is prepared to spend £25 million on Krychowiak in the summer, with Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini both leaving, and freeing up a space in the middle.
But Guardiola is eyeing the Poland midfielder and sees Krychowiak as the player to help Manchester City in midfield and cover at centre-back. The 26-year-old Polish international is expected to slot into English football straight away after two seasons in La Liga and playing in the French top flight with Reims.
Just to make a potential deal for either club more complicated, Real Madrid and Juventus have also reportedly enquired about him.
Barcelona would accept 12m for Bartra https://t.co/t2FbcHsdq7- SPORT English (@Sport_EN) March 6, 2016
Tottenham enter race for Bartra
Tottenham have joined Manchester United and Fiorentina in the race for Barcelona centre-back Marc Bartra, reports Spanish newspaper SPORT. Despite being with the club since he was 11, a meeting organised with the club by his agents over his lack of playing time was telling, as coach Luis Enrique revealed he was not part of his plans for the future.
The Catalans are prepared to accept £12 million for his services ahead of next season, despite the release clause in his contract standing at £42 million.
Tottenham already have three good centre-back options in the form of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Kevin Wimmer, but they believe that the club must have four excellent options at the back should they want to compete on all fronts -- and Bartra would be a perfect addition.
- Leicester, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham scouts were all present in Rennes' 4-0 win over Nantes on Sunday, keeping taps on Ousmane Dembele, according to BT Sport.
- The Brentwood Gazette reports that West Ham United are gearing up to test Tottenham Hotspur's resolve this summer as they plot to swoop for £16 million-rated Nacer Chadli.
- Carlos Tevez is threatening to quit boyhood idols Boca Juniors, in a row over a lack of holiday. The Mirror claims that the striker, who once went AWOL for six months at Manchester City, is suffering from burnout.