talkSPORT: Real determined to land Pogba
- 14 January 2016 07:31
- Posted by @Handler_mcfc
It was a night of rare Etihad Stadium frustration for City against Everton.
Traffic and biting cold added to supporter woes off the pitch, while Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard and referee Roger East caused more ire on it.
But more of that later - let's get onto the latest transfer chat as we approach the midpoint of the January window.
First in the spotlight is Paul Pogba - long linked with City - who is reportedly high on new Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane's shopping list.
A report in talkSPORT reads: "Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane wants to make Paul Pogba his first signing, according to reports in Spain.
"The Juventus midfielder is one of the hottest prospects in European football and is wanted by all of the continent's elite clubs.
"Barcelona and Manchester City are seen as the frontrunners, but Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are also keen.
"According to AS, however, Zidane is determined to lure Pogba to Real Madrid during the summer transfer window."
Elsewhere and a familiar January name, Leroy Sane, could be heading for Barcelona after a flurry of alleged interest from across Europe.
"Bookmakers have suspended betting on Manchester City target Leroy Sane’s next move," reports the Manchester Evening News' James Robson.
"The Schalke starlet has been heavily linked with a move to the Etihad after starring in the Bundesliga.
"City have monitored his progress, but it was understood that they would not be launching an official bid during the January transfer window.
"Now, following reports Barcelona have met his £27.8m buyout clause, Sky Bet have suspended betting."
Finally on the transfer front there are more reports of Bournemouth's interest in taking City starlet Patrick Roberts on loan.
"Bournemouth are among clubs to have asked about taking Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts, 18, on loan," report the Daily Mail.
"Roberts arrived at the Etihad in the summer from Championship outfit Fulham but has struggled to break into the first team under Manuel Pellegrini.
"The playmaker has made just three appearances for City this season, with two coming in the Capital One Cup and he could be set for a temporary exit this month."
Right, I've put it off long enough, let's move onto the match verdicts from last night's stalemate.
A clear focus was the penalty decision that went against City in the final seconds.
There was no doubt for MEN City reporter Stuart Brennan, who reflected: "For the second week in succession, against the same opposition, the referee has somehow missed a clear, undoubted penalty.
"With the game deep in added time Raheem Sterling tried on John Stones for pace one last time, and the tired defender clumsily barrelled into him, taking his legs from under him.
"No penalty, said ref Roger East.
"The Blues deserved a better decision after a second half in which they stifled all of Everton's ambition with a frantic, but measured, siege of the visitors' goal that could not find a way through."
Sam Wallace had a similar take on matters in his Daily Telegraph report: "While all around them the Premier League burst into life, the great title race of 2015-2016 slowed to a dawdle yet again for Manuel Pellegrini’s array of attacking players at Manchester City, who could not summon a goal between them on another night of frustration.
"The City manager was left to complain about an obvious penalty that referee Roger East did not award to the home side with what would have been the very last action of the night, when John Stones crucially misjudged a sliding challenge on Raheem Sterling in the third minute of injury-time and brought the winger to ground.
"Pellegrini had a point but he was also right not to labour it. City should have scored long before then as they laid siege to the away side’s goal, but, aside from Stones’ single rush of blood to the head, there was a composure about Everton’s defending that always suggested it could be a difficult night for City."
For the Sun's Martin Blackburn, Toffees keeper Tim Howard was the stand out performer.
"Howard was able to deny Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Raheem Sterling as City poured forward in search of a vital winner," he wrote.
"He should have faced a penalty in stoppage time, too, but Roger East inexplicably failed to award one for John Stones’ foul on Sterling.
"But as it was, he became the first goalkeeper in almost a year to leave the Etihad with a clean sheet in a Premier League game."
The late penalty call encapsulated City's night according to The Guardian's Jamie Jackson.
"This was a match of supreme frustration for Manchester City summed up in the final seconds when Raheem Sterling was felled by John Stones inside the penalty area only for Roger East, the referee, to fail to point at the spot," he wrote.
"This had Manuel Pellegrini’s team and supporters in uproar but while an injustice, given the chances spurned, City should have already sealed victory.
"They failed to score at home for the first time in nearly a year, the last occasion being a 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Middlesbrough on 24 January 2015. It meant their domination of Everton ended in the dropping of what may prove crucial points in this wide-open title race."
And finally the Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman believes the Blues must step up their game in order to clinch the title this season.
"City were the better team against Everton," he surmised. "A week ago in the Capital One Cup they had deservedly lost but here, after an even first half, they took control of the game. It was they who created the chances and they who played the incisive football.
“Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was one of the visiting team’s better players and made good saves from Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero, denying each player twice.
“On the night, however, City lacked the necessary conviction. Pellegrini’s team do not play with the swagger of one who believe another title is theirs to claim. For all the failings of the teams around them, it is something that must change.”