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Gossip: Mendy deal edges closer?

The gossip columns continue to link Manchester City will all and sundry now that the transfer window has officially opened and today is no different.

The Sun believe City’s chances of signing the Monaco star have improved considerably after the French champions landed a replacement.

Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim has swooped to sign Terence Kongolo from Feyenoord, and Martin Blackburn says a move for Mendy is now a more straightforward affair.

He says the left-back wants to join City and has made it clear to Monaco’s owners he wants to move.

“Monaco have paved the way for Benjamin Mendy to join Manchester City – by signing a ready made replacement,” Blackburn writes.

“The France international defender is Pep Guardiola’s top choice for a new left-back and is valued at £40million by his club.

“And today Monaco completed the signing of Feyenoord defender Terence Kongolo in a £13.1m deal.

“That will be good news for City who know that Mendy has made it clear to the French champions he wants to move to the Etihad.”

And, continuing a similar theme, ESPN’s Simon Curtis believes an injection of energy in the full-back positions is what City need most of they are to come closer to realising Pep Guardiola’s vision for the side.

“City's uneasy relationship with their full-backs is a story long documented in the world's media during the past two years,” Curtis writes. “As Manuel Pellegrini's reign subsided gently into oblivion from a dynamic and successful start, it became increasingly obvious wide defenders were no longer what the doctor ordered.

“When Pep Guardiola swept in to take over at the start of 2016-17, heavy was the air with speculation about who might survive the new coach's cull. The full-back positions came under particularly strong scrutiny, as the Catalan's modus operandi involved the need for great athleticism and adaptation to ever-changing game patterns.

“The names are by now familiar to all. Whether the right-back berth goes to Tottenham's Kyle Walker or Juventus' departing hero Dani Alves, both will fit beautifully into Guardiola's setup. Walker outran all other full-backs in the Premier League last season, making more forays up the wing than any other, while the Brazilian has long been admired the world over for his energetic presence in the attacking half of play.

“On the left side, Monaco's Benjamin Mendy seems set to join, too, with L'Equipe reporting more conclusively by the day on the likelihood of a switch from the Cote d'Azur to the banks of the River Irwell for the young French defender. That his club has signed a would-be replacement for him in Terence Kongolo from Feyenoord only serves to make the rumours look even more beguiling.

“Whether he is joined by Southampton's Ryan Bertrand remains to be seen. As with every other position in the team, Guardiola will be attempting to recruit enough new players to have two equally talented bodies for each position.”

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Moving on and there's an interesting article in the Manchester Evening News that argues competition for places in the Germany squad will be good news for City next season.

The Germans won the Confederations Cup on Sunday, beating Chile in the final, despite taking what most consider to be a second-string squad to the competition.

And Simon Bajkowski says that ahead of a World Cup year, the level of competition to secure a place in Joachim Low’s squad for Russia 2018 means Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane must find their best form throughout the season to ensure they are involved.

“As much competition as the Blues attack will provide, the likes of Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Marco Reus should also be spurring on the German Blues to take their game to new heights,” he writes.

“And should Gundogan and Sane step up, the onus will then be on their club teammates to do the same if they want to stand a chance of ousting them from the team.

“As Guardiola prepares for a second tilt at trophies with City, he should not need to motivate the players fighting for a World Cup spot.”

And, finally, Stuart Brennan at the Manchester Evening News has outlined Guardiola’s most pressing concerns when he returns to work.

The City boss will soon be back in position here at the CFA – and Brennan believes continuing to devise innovative tactics to outfox his opponents should be uppermost in his thoughts.

“Guardiola's innovative tactics gave us all a sense of anticipation heading into every game – his use of inverted full backs, the conversion of Kolarov to centre back, and the unpredictable team selection and tactics,” he writes.

“Will he use new boy Bernardo Silva in his accustomed right-sided role, or give him a free-raging brief? And could he refine the way he used Aguero and Jesus together in the same team as he did so successfully at the end of last season?”

That’s all for today, Blues. Keep an eye on mancity.com every morning for more news, views and transfer gossip from around the media world.

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