Vardy close to new Leicester deal

 Posted by at 8:49 PM
Feb 022016
Jamie Vardy made his England debut against San Marino in September 2015

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy is close to agreeing a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League leaders.

The 29-year-old England international still has more than two years to run on his current contract, but is now set to commit to the Foxes until 2019.

Vardy joined Leicester from Fleetwood for £1m in 2012 and has scored 20 goals in 34 top-flight appearances.

In November, he became the first player to score in 11 successive Premier League matches.

He broke the record, previously held by Ruud van Nistelrooy, when he put Leicester ahead in their 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

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Feb 022016

There is no chance that Manchester City’s season will be affected adversely just because everyone knows Pep Guardiola is on his way.

Guardiola does not take charge of City until July but he will watch every game they play between now and the summer.

So none of their players can take their foot off the gas, despite knowing that Manuel Pellegrini won’t be in charge for much longer. They are playing for their futures.

Yaya ‘is not going to be in a City shirt next season’

Toure, who turns 33 in May, won his second Premier League title under Manuel Pellegrini in 2014

I am not sure that even David Silva fits into the template of speed and tenacity that Guardiola’s pressing style requires.

But the one player it is definitely not going to suit is Yaya Toure. He is not going to be in a City shirt at the beginning of next season, that is for sure.

Yaya’s performances have not been up to the level we expect for a while now, and Pep also got rid of him when he was at Barcelona, which does not bode well.

When you look at the engine room of City’s midfield, I would say only Fernandinho has both the ability and physical capability that fit the profile of how Guardiola wants to play.

Fernando and Fabian Delph are both athletic but do not have the quality of, say, Thiago in terms of footwork and ability to dictate play.

Looking at Guardiola’s Barca and Bayern teams, he has always liked a proper ball player in that area of central midfield. Yaya does not fit the bill with his fitness levels, so I think that is the first area that the new manager will look at strengthening.

Left-back is another. There is far more to Guardiola’s philosophy than just a formation. The full-backs are key to how his sides attack.

Neither of City’s left-backs, Aleksandar Kolarov or Gael Clichy, strike me as Pep’s kind of players because I am not sure they are good enough footballers to do what he will ask of them.

But for most of the players already at City, it will be a case of wait and see.

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Pep Guardiola can attract world’s best players – Trevor Sinclair

I think Guardiola will be excited about working with a lot of them, especially Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

City have quality in most positions so it would be a case of tweaking the squad to suit Guardiola, rather than initiating an overhaul.

‘No other club could tempt Messi apart from City’

Lionel Messi, 28, has spent his entire career at Barcelona, where he played under Pep Guardiola from 2008 to 2012

Guardiola also has an impressive record of developing young players but that is probably the last thing on the minds of City fans at the moment.

There is a buzz regarding the players Guardiola can attract. That will continue until the start of next season, at least.

The thought of this City side with one or two world-class additions and Pep in charge is scary for the rest of the Premier League.

Who will come in? Everyone from Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba to Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski has been linked already, and people are also getting excited about the possibility of Lionel Messi coming to the Premier League.

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What’s it like to play for Guardiola?

From a footballing perspective, I understand when people say there is no chance of Messi moving. With Luis Suarez and Neymar alongside him at Barca, he is playing for the best team in the world, breaking records and winning stacks of trophies.

But you never know, because you cannot be sure where a player’s head is. I have been reading about some of the tax issues he has been facing in Spain and he might just say: “I have had enough.”

City would have to pay huge money to get him, of course, but if he wants to go, he will go. All he has to do is dig in his heels.

Messi could stop the speculation, of course. He could say that he has spoken to Pep and wished him all the best, and reassure the Barca fans he is staying.

Until that happens, the stories are not going to stop. City are the only club who could get him to leave, because the only man who could tempt him away is Guardiola.

Danny Murphy was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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January spending at five-year high

 Posted by at 9:42 AM
Feb 022016

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Dan Walker, Danny Murphy, Jermaine Jenas and Henry Winter discuss the big deadline day signings.

Stoke and Everton completed late big-money deals to take January transfer window spending to a five-year high of £175m.

Premier League clubs have spent a record £1.045bn on transfers in the 2015-16 season.

The Potters broke their record to sign Porto’s Giannelli Imbula for £18.3m, with Everton spending £13.5m on Lokomotiv Moscow striker Oumar Niasse.

The previous record for a season was £965m in 2014-15.

Dan Jones of finance experts Deloitte said: “Notably, this January’s spending has been driven in large part by clubs in the bottom half of the table.

“The promise of the new broadcast deal for Premier League clubs from next season onwards and the threat of missing out through relegation is contributing to clubs investing in an attempt to stay in the league.”

Guardiola overshadows deadline day

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Pep Guardiola can attract world’s best players – Trevor Sinclair

The big football story of the day was about a managerial appointment rather than a signing.

Manchester City announced that Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season.

The biggest deals on deadline day

Deadline day has become an event in its own right in English football, but this season’s would have been a disappointment to most observers.

The two deals worth over £10m involved players little known to Premier League fans – with Stoke signing uncapped French midfielder Imbula, the biggest UK transfer of the window, and Everton’s recruitment of Senegal striker Niasse.

Watford signed two players for undisclosed fees on deadline day, loaning both to Granada. The signings of Rennes midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure and Udinese striker Adalberto Penaranda are reported to be worth £16m,