Sports News of Saturday, 29 December 2018
An expert in the football transfer business has confirmed that Manchester City have approached Atletico Madrid about the possibility of signing Thomas Partey of Ghana.
According to Ian McGarry of the Transfer Window podcast, Pep Guardiola has been aware of the weakness in the champions’ squad for some time and is finally looking to plug a gap.
Partey, the 25-year-old Ghana midfielder is seen as a long-term successor to Fernandinho.
Fernandinho’s absence in the heart of midfield has coincided with a downturn in fortunes for City who have slumped from top to third over the last few weeks.
And with the Brazil international set to turn 34 in March and a possible transfer ban from FIFA, Guardiola is hoping to get a deal next month.
McGarry said on the Transfer Window podcast: “I’m told that City have enquired to Atletico Madrid about Thomas Partey, who, for me, is one of the most exciting and most effective holding midfielders in European football at this moment in time.
“He would be my choice for Pep Guardiola in terms of bringing someone in going forward and remember that City were very much in the market for Fred, the Brazilian midfielder who signed for Manchester United in the summer, so this is not a position which Guardiola is just suddenly waking up to in terms of it being deficient.
“He’s been looking at this for a year now or more and unusually City have not really responded or reacted properly to this.
“However, I do believe that the losses to Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Chelsea, and the fact they’re trailing Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, means that they will act and act quickly in January.”
City face a test of their resolve as they look to pull themselves out of a rare slump at Southampton this weekend.
The defending champions have ceded the initiative to Liverpool in the title race after losing three of their last four Premier League games.
City, who have slipped to third from what appeared a position of dominance a few weeks ago, only lost twice in the whole of last season.
Their most recent defeats have surprisingly come in back-to-back games against Crystal Palace and Leicester in the past week, the first time they have lost two in succession in more than two years.
With a crunch clash against Liverpool coming up at the Etihad Stadium next Thursday, Pep Guardiola’s men can ill afford to drop more points as they travel to St Mary’s on Sunday.
Midfielder Bernardo Silva said: “The last days were not good for us, to lose two games in a row. Especially in this important part of the season, it is never good.
“Now (we have) to check what we have been doing wrong, try to improve those areas and start winning games as fast as possible.
“Seven points starts to be a lot and we have to admit we are not in a good moment and try to come back from that. We need a good reaction from all the lads, that is what we will try to do at Southampton.”