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Man City eye Olmo as De Bruyne replacement

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The Etihad has always been a stage for football’s finest. In the wake of Kevin de Bruyne’s unfortunate torn muscle, whispers have been echoing through the alleys of Manchester.

Dani Olmo, the Spanish international has found himself being eyed by none other than Manchester City’s maestro, Pep Guardiola.

Intriguingly, Olmo had just sealed his loyalty to his current club until 2027 reveal BILD. However, a tantalising detail emerges: a £60 million exit clause that becomes viable from 2024.

The Spaniard’s response to the rumours? “Manchester City is a big club, one of the biggest in the world. Josko went there. But I’m happy here.”

Olmo’s reference to Josko brings to the forefront Josko Gvardiol’s transfer saga. Gvardiol, one of Olmo’s closest allies on the pitch, joined the English titans recently, setting records with a staggering €90 million move, thereby crowning him the most expensive defender globally.

It’s been a summer of departures for Leipzig, with stars like Dominik Szoboszlai (who made a notable first appearance for Liverpool), Christopher Nkunku (now with Chelsea), and Konrad Laimer (who joined Bayern) seeking greener pastures.

A switch for Olmo seems out of the picture for now. Leipzig’s coach Marco Rose stands firm: “At some point it’s good. I need a football team to be able to play football.”

The sentiment isn’t without merit. With Olmo spearheading the team’s attack, he’s bagged four goals in just his first two competitive appearances this season. The Spaniard has set the tempo in the offence, particularly in light of his resurgence following minor setbacks over previous years. Thankfully, this summer has been different: “I feel good, I had a good summer break, switched off and recovered very well,” says Olmo.

Looking ahead, Olmo remains sanguine: “We know what we can achieve, we showed it in the Supercup. We have to stay focused. We imagined the start differently, of course. But this is just the beginning of a long journey.”

According to reports from BILD, the transfer tale of Manchester City and Olmo might be one to watch closely as the season unfolds.

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European Leagues

Motherwell stuns Rangers at Home

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Impressive Motherwell secured their first victory at Ibrox in nine years to end Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers’ 11-game winning run.

Theo Bair’s early strike – his 11th goal of the season – was cancelled out by James Tavernier’s 60th-minute penalty.

But Dan Casey headed the eighth-placed side’s winner that swings the title race back in the direction of Celtic.

Philippe Clement’s side remain two points clear at the top of the table.

However, reigning champions Celtic can regain the lead they enjoyed for much of the season when they visit Heart of Midlothian on Sunday.

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell told BBC Scotland just before kick-off that he felt he had a formula to frustrate both sides of the Old Firm.

His side had lost by a single goal on their last visit to Ibrox and they rarely looked back after making a composed start that was in stark contrast to their surprisingly nervy hosts.

When centre-half John Souttar made a mess of trying to intercept a through ball to Jack Vale, the striker exploited the space behind and set up strike partner Bair for a 15-yard finish off the far post.

Rangers looked shaken and disjointed, but they gradually grew into the game only to find goalkeeper Liam Kelly and his defence in defiant form.

With winger Ross McCausland forced off after a strong Casey challenge that did not even produce a booking, replacement Fabio Silva ought to have equalised with his first touch only to shoot weakly straight at Kelly.

Rangers thought they had equalised, only for Cyriel Dessers to be ruled offside, but they eventually did after Stephen O’Donnell’s slide into Silva produced the penalty from which Tavernier fired his 21st goal of the season off the underside of the bar.

The hosts piled forward hoping to repeat their midweek comeback win over Kilmarnock.

However, Blair Spittal had already fired a warning off the crossbar before Rangers’ equaliser and the hosts’ defensive frailties were again exposed when the midfielder’s cross found Casey to provide the killer blow in a thrilling finish.

Home defeat is not the ideal preparation for Rangers as they travel to meet Benfica in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday (20:00 GMT) before visiting Hibernian in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals, while Motherwell are not in action again until hosting Aberdeen in the league on 16 March (15:00).

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Tottenham left it late again

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Tottenham left it late again as three goals in the final 13 minutes saw them come from behind to eventually see off Oliver Glasner’s Crystal Palace 3-1.

Ange Postecoglou’s side came from behind to win for the fifth time this season as they once again did it the hard way, having trailed to Eberechi Eze’s wonderful free-kick shortly after the hour.

The hosts should have been ahead by then when Timo Werner wasted a glorious chance when played clean through, but they struggled to create against Glasner’s dogged visitors until they eventually pulled level.

Brennan Johnson’s sheer determination saw him beat Joachim Andersen out wide and allowed him space to tee-up a simple finish for Werner to level with his debut Tottenham goal.

Spurs ended up handing Glasner a harsh welcome to the Premier League when they went in front three minutes later, as Cristian Romero nodded home James Maddison’s brilliant hooked cross.

Heung-Min Son then put the gloss on what had seemed for so long to be a miserable afternoon for Spurs as he raced through late on to seal victory with his first club goal of 2024.

 

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Axel Disasi header rescues point for Blues

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A late header from Axel Disasi rescued a 2-2 draw for Chelsea at Brentford after Yoane Wissa’s stunning overhead kick had given the hosts a second-half lead.

Chelsea looked to put their Carabao Cup final defeat further behind them having beaten Leeds in the FA Cup on Wednesday and they were on course to do so when Nicolas Jackson deservedly headed them in front during the first half.

Brentford had been hanging on for half-time but were transformed after the break, with Mads Roerslev pouncing in the box to equalise within five minutes before Wissa’s brilliant acrobatic volley put them ahead.

Brentford looked to put the game to bed late on as Sergio Reguilon’s header hit a post but it was Disasi who had the final say, nodding home at a corner in the 83rd minute after Bees goalkeeper Mark Flekken had cheaply conceded the set-piece.

 

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