Coach Pep Guardiola is expected to use a “virtual 9” in the Man City squad to meet Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals tonight.
Expected starting lineup Atletico Madrid vs Man City: Guardiola uses “imaginary 9”
Man City just drew Liverpool in the battle for the Premier League title. This result still helps them take the top spot with one more point. In the Atletico Madrid rematch tonight, Pep Guardiola’s teachers and students must protect their fragile advantage after winning 1-0 in the first leg.
Compared to last weekend’s match, Man City’s squad will have a significant change in attack. The absence of Gabriel Jesus, the author of the goal against Liverpool, due to suspension caused Guardiola to switch from a 4-2-3-1 formation to a 4-3-3.
With no real striker left, the Spaniard intends to use Phil Foden in the role of “virtual 9”, which has happened many times this season. Man City’s attack also has Riyad Mahrez and Jack Greaslish, who came on as substitutes against Liverpool, which means Raheem Sterling has to sit on the bench.
On the Atletico side, star Joao Felix will return to the main kick after only playing the last 30 minutes of the loss to Mallorca in La Liga. Thus, the pair of strikers Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann is likely to be replaced by Felix and Correa, who return after the penalty.
Atletico went through two consecutive matches without scoring, so coach Diego Simeone hopes the change in attack can help the team improve the situation.
Man City offered “mountain of money” to Haaland, Real Madrid saluted
Man City is doing everything to win Erling Haaland, which is willing to spend a “mountain of money” to convince the Norwegian and Dortmund striker.
According to journalist Gianluca di Marzio of Sky Sport Italia, Man City is in talks with Haaland and is confident about the ability to overcome Real Madrid to win this striker.
Haaland will be the main player in the transfer market next summer when many of Europe’s top clubs are lining up to pursue. Initially, Real Madrid dominated but Gianluca di Marzio said, Man City will win.
In particular, negotiations between the parties are progressing and the €75 million clause allowing him to leave Dortmund in the summer makes things easier. Most importantly, Man City accepts to spend big to meet Guardiola’s requirements for a top striker in the world. In addition to the 75 million euro clause, they are willing to spend 70 million euros in commissions, while the five-year contract will be for the player with 30 million euros per season.
That means, the total cost that Man City spends on Haaland can reach 295 million euros, much higher than expected for this striker to go to Real Madrid or Barca.
If Man City succeeds with their attractive offer, Real Madrid has almost resigned to the possibility of losing Haaland, despite the real effort.
The big Spanish giant is also waiting to see if Kylian Mbappe will keep his word and sign him. They tried to win Haaland now and then let the Norwegian striker another year in the Bundesliga and then sent him to Barnabeu for the 2023/24 season.
Real Madrid offered a fee of 120 million euros, much higher than 75 million to release. This is a solution appreciated by Borussia Dortmund, but not Haaland.