Manchester City Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of May 5
Anyone who has ever been single knows that Chris Rock told the God's honest truth about the correlation between how hard it is to find a date when you are single, and how the whole world seems to show interest in you when you are no longer available.
"Women like men that are in relationships. Guys know what I'm talking about. When you were single no one was thinking about you...now your phone is ringing off the hook," Rock famously intoned.
So it goes with Manchester City in the world football dating game known as the summer transfer window. Though the window has not opened yet, both the clubs and the players are in the process of putting on their going-out clothes and hoping to make some magic.
Last week, when Manchester City's Premier League title bid still looked shaky, the names associated with the Sky Blues in the transfer market were just that—names.
This week, with City once again atop the league table and a heavy favorite to finish the job, per Oddschecker.com, they are being linked with some of the biggest and most expensive players the market will offer.
Everybody really does love a winner.
Lionel Messi to City?
The rumours of Barcelona icon Lionel Messi coming to Manchester City are harder to get rid of than crabgrass or a rash.
"Manuel Pellegrini's side have prepared an eye-watering £164 million offer as they look to bring one of the planet's best players to the Etihad," wrote Anthony Chapman for the Express recently.
City seem to be saying "we have your Financial Fair Play right here" with this talk.
Chapman reports that, "City believe their former Barcelona duo Txiki Beguiristain and Ferran Soriano can convince Messi to link up with fellow countryman Sergio Aguero and set the Premier League alight."
This rumour should remain in believe-it-when-you-see-it territory until further notice.
Paul Pogba to City?
Manchester City's interest in Paul Pogba is just too juicy for words, but we'll try. Per Liam Prenderville of the Mirror:
Pogba has hit back at former club Manchester United, claiming legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson showed him no respect. The midfielder was reportedly made to train alone during his public contract dispute, something which still rankles with him.
Pogba now plies his trade with Juventus, a club with whom City have had dealings in the recent past. City sent Carlos Tevez to Juve last summer.
City are now after Pogba and have expressed willingness to put many parts (and many pounds) in motion to get a deal done. At least in part to stick it in United's eye, no doubt.
"Manchester City are reportedly ready to make a stunning £32 million summer move for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba. And boss Manuel Pellegrini is so determined to force through the deal, he could offer Edin Dzeko or Aleksandar Kolarov in return," Prenderville reported recently.
That would be an ignominious City end for Dzeko, being a throw-in sweetener in a deal for a younger player.
Would they perhaps consider Alvaro Negredo instead?
Joe Hart No Longer on the Move?
Give Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart this much: He helped get City into this Premier League title dogfight with Liverpool, and now he is helping City to find their way out.
Hart's wiggly fingerprints were all over early City foibles at Aston Villa and at Chelsea. The points City dropped in those matches eventually cost City their chance to stake an early claim to the Premier League title, and for a brief time they cost Hart his job.
Over the past few months, though, Hart has been as unrelenting as rent.
Hart's fingertip denial of Everton's Steven Naismith's shot from a mini-breakaway in the opening minutes of the second half of City's most recent match was the sort of save that wins titles.
For the time being, Hart appears to have convinced City boss Manuel Pellegrini not to replace him in the coming transfer window.
"Hart’s future was in doubt when Pellegrini dropped him following some howlers and then looked around at alternatives in the market. But Hart is back to his best and the Chilean has warmed to him after proving his point with the decision to drop him," noted Alan Nixon in the Mirror.
Bacary Sagna to City?
"Bacary Sagna will hold talks with Manchester City after the FA Cup final later this month," said David Kent recently in the Daily Mail.
Kent reported that Sagna has rejected Arsenal's final bid to keep their incumbent right-back, an offer believed to be worth £80,000 per week for three years. Sagna apparently wants that sixth digit left of the decimal place.
"Sagna is free to discuss a move to a Barclays Premier League club at the end of the season, and his intention is to discuss a potential switch to the Etihad Stadium," Kent continued.
What is another £100,000 weekly wage bill at City, anyway?
Cesc Fabregas to City?
Former Arsenal man and current Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas may be proving that you really cannot go home again.
"The midfielder moved back to the Catalan club in 2011 after eight seasons with Arsenal, but it has been far from a dream return," wrote Simon Bajkowski for the Manchester Evening News.
Further per Bajkowski, "Cesc Fabregas could be chased by BOTH Manchester sides this summer as his Barcelona future remains uncertain."
The M.E.N. report notes that City chief executive Txiki Begiristain "was involved in trying to sign Cesc Fabregas for Barcelona" and still rates the player highly.
For his part, Fabregas has hinted in the past that he might prefer a return to North London: "Arsenal is in my heart and always will be. I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to go back and play there one day, or maybe after football."
Hey, if fourth place is your thing, by all means.