Rumour round-up: Man City boss Pep Guardiola ‘to leave’ at end of season as Manchester United ‘agree’ £104m transfer for Gareth Bale and Virgil Van Dijk is linked with shock Liverpool exit

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A round-up of the big Premier League news and talking points.

Liverpool and Everton battling for defender

Liverpool and rivals Everton are eyeing up a move for Real Sociedad star Diego Llorente.

The defender has featured in 16 matches in the La Liga this term and is believed to be worth around £26m.

Both teams are eager to bolster their defensive options during the upcoming summer transfer window, according to the Liverpool Echo.

Pep shock

Pep Guardiola has agreed to take over as Juventus manager at the end of the season, according to sensational reports in Italy.

Current boss Massimiliano Allegri looks set to leave the club at the end of the season after five years in the job.

Allegri has led them to the Serie A title in every season under his management but they are on the verge of exiting the Champions League after losing the first leg of their last-16 clash with Atletico Madrid 2-0.

And journalist Luigi Guelpa, who works for Turin-based newspaper Il Giornale, says sources have told him that Guardiola has already agreed to replace Allegri for the next four years.

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Wolves watch

Wolverhampton Wanderers sent scouts to watch Portuguese wonderkid Joao Felix in the Europa League on Thursday night, according to reports.

The 19-year-old has broken into Benfica’s first team this season and has a host of Europe’s top clubs keeping tabs on him, including Real Madrid and Juventus.

But Wolves are reportedly keen to bring the teenager to the Premier League and it’s reported that scouts checked him out during Benfica’s 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.

 

Felix didn’t enjoy his best match but he’s sparkled for Benfica at times this season.

The attacker has scored nine and assisted four in 16 Primeira Liga matches for Benfica and has emerged as one of the stars of their title-chasing team.

Wolves scouts were joined in the stands in Croatia by representatives from Manchester United, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Fulham, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, AC Milan, Napoli, Inter Milan, Sampdoria, Sassuolo, Bordeaux, Lille and Slavia Prague.

Spending spree

Manchester City are chasing a left-back and a holding midfielder, plus two more additions.

The Spaniard, whose side are chasing an historic quadruple haul of trophies this season, said: “I don’t know what’s going to happen but we are thinking about the chance to find somebody in that position (left-back).

Gareth Bale

“There are three or four positions I think we have to try to look for and some ideas we have.

 

“I don’t know in the end what is going to happen, but it is an option to buy a left-back and a holding midfielder.

 

“We are going to try to get and other positions we are thinking about.

 

“I’m not going to tell you which positions, I don’t want to tell you the players.”

Guardiola will target England and Leicester ace Ben Chilwell after deciding he cannot trust Benjamin Mendy to remain fit.

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Premier League news

The France left-back cost City £52m when he joined from Monaco in July 2017 but his switch to the Etihad has proved a nightmare after a string of serious injuries.

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Teenage target

 

Wolves are the latest club to be linked with 16-year-old Birmingham City sensation Ramello Mitchell.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Southampton and Leeds United have all been linked with a move for the highly-regarded teenage striker.

A report in today’s Daily Mail claims that Wolves are keen to snap up the youngster from their neighbours as interest grows in his potental.

He has already been watched by Liverpool earlier this season and has been prolific in the Blues youth teams.

Bale deal done

Manchester United and Gareth Bale have already ‘closed an agreement’ for his transfer that has left Real Madrid’s plans to sign Chelsea’s Eden Hazard in tatters.

That’s according to Spanish journalist Eduardo Inda.

Gareth Bale’s future is again the subject of speculation with the summer transfer window approaching.

The Welshman has struggled to gain a starting sport under Santiago Solari this season and was jeered by Los Blancos fans during their El Clasico defeat to Barcelona on Saturday.

 

But according to respected Spanish journalist Eduardo Inda, Bale already has an agreement in place with the Red Devils.

Bale’s reported decision to join United has now angered Real Madrid’s hierarchy as they were hoping to use the forward in negotiations to try and sign Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.

“There is a tremendous anger and in the club he is sure he has closed an agreement with Manchester United, betraying Real Madrid who wanted to sell it to Chelsea to lower the risk of the Hazard operation.

“They want to sell for €120m (£104m).”

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Shock exit

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team's fifth goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Watford in February
Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team’s fifth goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Watford in February

Virgil Van Dijk has been tipped to leave Liverpool if they fail to win the Premier League.

Liverpool failed to reclaim top spot from Manchester City after being held to a goalless draw by Merseyside rivals Everton on Sunday.

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Wolves features

Van Dijk, who joined from Southampton for £75m last year, has been a major part of the Reds’ title push.

The Dutchman put in another stellar performance as Liverpool failed to break down Everton.

“What a colossus this man is,” Crooks told the BBC. “In the white hot heat of a Merseyside derby, Virgil van Dijk was simply immense.

“Whatever needed to be done was completed with composure and style.

 

“On a day when Liverpool’s strikers looked more like the three stooges than the red arrows, Van Dijk took it upon himself to try and score the goals as well as defend his own penalty area.

“The problem for Liverpool is simply this; if they don’t win the title this season the chances are Real Madrid or Barcelona will come knocking – probably both. And few turn them down.”

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Manchester United open talks

Bruno Fernandes celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg football match between Villarreal CF and Sporting CP

Manchester United have opened talks with £50million-rated transfer target Bruno Fernandes, according to reports in Portugal.

Fernandes looks certain to leave Sporting Lisbon in the summer and is on the radar of a number of huge clubs including  Liverpool  and  Chelsea.

But according to Portuguese publication  A Bola   Manchester United  have made the first move to get the transfer over the line.

The paper claims that the Red Devils have made contact with Sporting and have opened talks with the player over a possible transfer.

Fernandes’ contract release clause is €100million (£86m), but it is believed Sporting would let the 24-year-old go for around £50million.

Werner watch

Liverpool  have asked RB Leipzig to be kept informed regarding Timo Werner, as the situation surrounding the Germany striker’s future continues to get messy.

Werner, 23, has angered his current club by agreeing terms over a deal with Bayern Munich – despite no talks between the two clubs.

The striker’s agent, Karlheinz Förster, has negotiated a deal with the Bundesliga champions, with Werner seemingly deciding that his future is best served at the Allianz Arena.

Werner’s contract expires with RBL in 2020, but they have no intention of allowing him to run down his deal and depart on a free in 16 months time.

And they are angry that Werner’s camp have made the apparent decision to force a move this summer.

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Big development

Arsenal’s chances of signing Adrien Rabiot this summer have dramatically increased as  Barcelona  have ended their pursuit of the Frenchman, according to reports.

Rabiot is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer at the end of the season after failing to nail down a place in the first team under Thomas Tuchel.

Barcelona were favourites to land the midfielder, and were strongly linked with him in the January transfer window.

But the deal never materialised, and Barcelona ended up splashing the cash to land Ajax’s Frenkie De Jong, who will link up with his new team-mates at the end of the season.

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Holgate blow 

Everton have no plans to sell Mason Holgate in the summer, despite reported interest from the Championship. 

The 22-year-old found himself firmly part of  Marco Silva’s  plans at the start of the campaign as injuries and suspensions left the Blues a little short in defensive areas.  

And that will still be the case in the future, as  the ECHO  understands the manager is still a fan of  Holgate  – despite West Bromwich Albion reportedly showing an interest in signing him permanently.  

The former Barnsley man was called upon in the opening game of the 2018/19 term following a red card for  Phil Jagielka  , and kept his place for some weeks as injuries kept  Michael Keane  and  Yerry Mina  out of action.  

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Hammers want Millwall star

Millwall to West Ham is not a well trodden path when it comes to transfers in football.

The rivalry between the two east London clubs is one of the most long-standing and most bitter in English football, and clashes between the two sides are often fractious affairs.

Aston Villa key reads

From injuries to what the opposition think of Aston Villa.

From player ratings to the full thoughts of the manager.

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The links below show you all the latest Aston Villa stories you need to be reading.
* Discover how we rated the players during the last game with our player ratings
* We will keep you updated with the latest injury developments and news
* Keep an eye on The fixtures, for the next run of games coming up.
 

But  West Ham  are now being linked with a surprise move this summer for Millwall full-back Mahlon Romeo, as a potential long-term replacement for Pablo Zabaleta.

The 34-year-old is out of contract this summer at West Ham, having signed a two-year contract with the Hammers when joining on a free transfer in 2017.

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Tammy to Germany?

Rumours are circulating that Bundesliga side RB Leipzing will bid £20m for Tammy Abraham this summer. 

The Chelsea youngster is on loan at Aston Villa this season and has been a huge hit with Villa fans.  

To date he has scored 21 goals in 29 games and in the January transfer window had the option of a move to Wolves, he rejected it to stay on loan at Villa Park. 

  

The Sun are leading the rumour mill and suggest that the 21-year-old could become the latest English youngster to try their hand abroad.

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What’s happening at Aston Villa?

Leipzig are preparing themselves to lose Timo Werner at the end of the season with Liverpool and Manchester United ready to snap him up. 

Villa’s only hopes of an extended stay for Abraham would be if they were to achieve promotion to the Premier League. 

Then they would find themselves firmly in the running for his signature should Chelsea decide to sell.

Aston Villa TV fixtures

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Birmingham City vs Aston Villa

Sunday, March 10 (12pm) Sky Sports Football

Nottingham Forest vs Aston Villa

Wednesday, March 13 (7:45pm) Sky Sports Football

Rotherham United vs Aston Villa

Wednesday, April 10 (7:45pm) Sky Sports Red Button (main selection to be confirmed)

     

 



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