THE BOLLOXManchester City's Sergio Aguero plans to leave after NEXT SEASON — but Blues insist he agreed to stay longer
Striker who just broke the Blues' long-standing career goals record wants to end his career with boyhood side Independiente
Sergio Aguero has paved the way for his Manchester City exit — and an emotional return to his boyhood club in Argentina.
City’s all-time leading goal-scorer has revealed he intends to quit the Blues in 2019 and return to Buenos Aires side Independiente – where he started as a player before moving to Atletico Madrid – to see out his glittering career.
Striker Aguero said: “It came out that Milan and Real Madrid wanted me and - I don’t know where I read it - but they said, ‘They just spoiled Independiente’s dream.' But the idea was always to go back to Independiente when my contract with City runs out in 2019.
...but he kept on banging them in and now owns the club's scoring record (Image: Action Images via Reuters)
“I have an option to extend one more year with City where it’s the priority but it’s always an option.
“The idea is to go back. Now, I’m doing very well and hopefully we can win the cup [title], but it’s not easy.”Hat-trick of annual profits for Sheikh Mansour’s Man City (just) as revenue hits £473m
Manchester City, the Abu Dhabi-owned club whose multi-talented squad under Pep Guardiola already look like waltzing off with this season’s Premier League title, have reported a minuscule pre-tax profit of just £104,000 for 2016-17.
It is the sort of money which some of its star players would probably expect to earn in a week, which seems appropriate, since surging wage costs are part of the explanation for the decline from a pre-tax profit of £19.6 million the previous year. This in spite of turnover which climbed over 20% to £473.4 million. The latest period stretches to 13 months, due to a decision to change the year-end from May 31 to June 30.
Staff costs over these 13 months jumped to £264.1 million, against £197.6 million in 2015-16. By contrast, directors’ remuneration was once again zero.
A note on related party transactions states that details of key management compensation are listed in the financial statements of City Football Group Limited, an entity holding investments in New York City and Melbourne City FCs and Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos, as well as Manchester City.
This entity’s 2015-16 accounts, filed at Companies House last March, record key management compensation of £4.4 million, up from £3.5 million the previous year.
Noting that 2017-18 would be the 10th season under the stewardship of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman, underlined that City continued to operate with “zero financial debt”.
“For the third consecutive year, our business is profitable,” Al Mubarak added, with record revenues “pushing beyond £400m and towards the £500m mark.”
Matchday income actually fell from 2015-16 levels to just under £52 million, but commercial activities jumped more than £40m to £218m. Like other Premier League clubs, City benefited from the new TV deal, with broadcasting income, excluding that from UEFA, surging from £100.1 million to £155.6 million.
Having been Champions League semi-finalists in 2015-16, however, City reached only the Round of 16 last time. This was reflected in a downturn in UEFA broadcasting money from £61.2 million to under £48 million.
The latest figures excluded a whole slew of summer transfers, including the signings of Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy and the departures of Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri. The club said net spending on these deals was around £161 million.Kevin De Bruyne and the journey to perfecting midfield simplicity
LEONARDO DA VINCI ONCE SAID, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Life is full of complexities, yet success often derives from the simplest of acts. For Kevin De Bruyne, that simple act was scoring a goal. One that meant more than just success to him, it was an ebullient moment of vindication.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City had all but battered Chelsea into submission, yet the game remained scoreless. Last year, it would have been typical of the side to fall short in their search for supremacy, failing to break the deadlock or worse still, gifting the opposition an undeserved winner through a momentary lapse in defensive concentration. This season, however, was different.
Receiving the ball on the half-turn, De Bruyne adjusted his body shape to play a vertical pass into the feet of Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian striker immediately returned the favour, laying it back to him before the Belgian drove forwards, taking the game by the scruff of the neck, and rifled his left-footed shot across goal to score the eventual winner.
The strike bore individual significance to De Bruyne for two reasons, starting with the man his shot flew past, Thibaut Courtois. The pair had been great friends growing up together, playing for both Genk and the Belgium national side. But their relationship soured rapidly when De Bruyne discovered his girlfriend at the time had been unfaithful to him, with none other than Courtois.
The second reason was the club, Chelsea. The Blues had given De Bruyne his first taste of English football back in 2012, signing him alongside compatriot Courtois in a deal worth around £7 million. It was no surprise, really – his mother had family in England and a young Kevin spent a lot of his youth visiting their home in the London borough of Ealing, just a short drive from Stamford Bridge. The transfer should have been the midfielder’s big break.
Alas, the agony of infidelity weighed heavy on De Bruyne’s heart. It had affected his focus, work-rate, and drive. What he needed was an arm around the shoulder, a father figure of a coach to help him through this emotional rut. Unfortunately, no such olive branch was extended.
Manager José Mourinho was confident in De Bruyne’s abilities but reserved doubts over his mental strength. The Portuguese tactician is a born winner and has never suffered fools gladly. What ensued was an ugly tit-for-tat that resulted in De Bruyne leaving London after only three league appearances. Mourinho’s parting shot was to label him a “cry baby”, while the Belgian stated things would have been different if he was “a £45 million player”.
De Bruyne has always been strong in his convictions. This is a player who left boyhood club Drongen aged eight after telling his coach “the training sessions are better at Gent.” Having been born in the Ghent sub-municipality, he spent his formative years carrying a football with him wherever he went. The youngster honed his weaker foot in his back garden at the request of his parents, who were worried about the damage Kevin was inflicting on their plant pots.
After representing Drongen for two years, the plucky playmaker moved to regional giants Gent and fast made a name for himself. His youth coaches were unsure – this was a boy with undoubted talent, yet something was unsettling about his forthright nature. Kevin wasn’t so much a rebel, more strong-willed, but either way, they thought it best to iron this trait out of his persona. It did not end well.
“He just held on to one of the posts and refused to let go. He was in a rage. Three of us tried to pull him away from it but we didn’t manage,” recalled Frank De Leyn, De Bruyne’s old coach. He was reminiscing about a training camp in Barcelona where the adolescent midfielder was reprimanded for failing to help clear away equipment after training. “He was stubborn as hell, like a mule, but I also think that it is that stubbornness, that character trait, that has made him the player he is now.”
Inevitably, their personalities clashed. De Bruyne’s self-assurance proving the antithesis to De Leyn’s autocratic discipline. He was one of the brightest talents in Gent’s academy and couldn’t conceive why his coach was so hard on him. News of the player’s discontent travelled the length and breadth of the nation and it wasn’t long before Genk made contact, coaxing their adversary’s starlet.
Moving across the country aged 14 wasn’t an easy decision, but one that De Bruyne made with uncompromised tunnel-vision. He wanted to become a professional footballer more than anything; his drive and obstinacy only further accentuated by others attempts to strip him of them. He swiftly established himself at the fulcrum of Genk’s under-21 side. Often playing out wide, he demonstrated versatility by wreaking havoc from the channels and providing sublime service for the side’s target man, Christian Benteke.
Naturally, he progressed into the first team and made his debut at 17. His first full season of action was a challenging one and Genk even flirted with the idea of relegation. The curve was steep but De Bruyne was a fast learner. In 2010/11 he took the Pro League by storm, scoring five and assisting a further 16, as De Smurfen won their third championship and cemented himself as a vital cog in midfield.
His dexterous aptitude attracted admiring glances from across Europe and, in January 2012, he signed for Chelsea before seeing out the rest of the season at
In many ways, his spell at Werder Bremen was the making of the Belgian. Thomas Schaaf, Die Werderaner’s manager, appreciated the talent he had at his disposal and immediately afforded his new signing creative license. His faith was rewarded as De Bruyne shone, helping his new club maintain their Bundesliga status despite their failings to win any of the last 12 league fixtures.
What was so impressive about De Bruyne’s game, alongside the spectacular, was its blissful simplicity. While other advanced players made their name with exuberant skills or astounding goals, the playmaker combined this with the ability to bring out the best in others. Great moves are often initiated by stunning foresight; a line-breaking pass, a perfectly weighted ball, and in De Bruyne, Bremen had their architect.
He was named Bundesliga Young Player of the Year and racked up an impressive 10 goals and nine assists. Naturally, he headed back to his parent club brimming with confidence only to be let down by external factors, impatience and obduracy. The aforementioned conflict with Mourinho resulted in an £18 million transfer back to German shores, this time with Wolfsburg.
De Bryne was left angry and frustrated at Chelsea – he was clearly a talented individual, but needed to feel loved and wanted. Thankfully, that indignation was ephemeral, as new coach Dieter Hecking made him feel special from day one. He repaid his faith in the only way he knew how – with a myriad of goals and assists.
The 2014/15 season marked his best season to date. Die Wölfe finished runners-up to Pep Guardiola’s Bayern machine and won the DFB-Pokal. De Bruyne struck 16 times and racked up a sensational 27 assists – 21 in the league alone, a Bundesliga record. He also shone on the European stage. His exquisite volley against Lille helped secure their Europa League group qualification before he netted two goals in the last-16 against Inter Milan.
“He is a phenomenon, you can find him everywhere on the pitch, but then he also manages to disappear and emerge at the right time,” Hecking eulogised as he was named Footballer of the Year in Germany. “He is a perfect player when you look at transitions from defence to offence. He has a fantastic anticipation level for empty space and opponents find it incredibly difficult to defend against him.”
Indeed, the Belgian was now operating on a level far beyond his peers and keeping him at the club became unfeasible. As a £55 million move to Manchester City materialised, his converted penalty that helped Wolfsburg lift the 2015 DFL-Supercup proved to be De Bruyne’s leaving present to a club that had given him so much.
Upon his return to England, he stated: “I want to reach the highest level possible as a player and I think the most important thing is that at the end of the season we can be happy and maybe have some titles.” As always, De Bruyne was determined in his approach and not perturbed by becoming the Premier League’s second most expensive signing ever.
He enjoyed a solid start to life in Manchester, although his price tag and history still led some quarters of the media to label him merely a Chelsea flop. However, the longer the season went on, the quieter his critics became, and his season reached its apex in April. Having already helped City secure the League Cup, he scored the winner at the Etihad in the Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain, curling a lovely shot past Kevin Trapp and sending the club through to their first ever semi-final.
That summer, De Bruyne teamed up with the man who would transform him from a world-class midfielder, into arguably the world’s best. Pep Guardiola was announced as the new manager and was effusive in his praise of the Belgian. “I think he is a special, outstanding player. He makes everything. Without the ball he is the first fighter, and with the ball he is clear – he sees absolutely everything.”
The 2016/17 season was a testing one for the Citizens. Guardiola’s lack of pace at full-back meant De Bruyne was shoehorned into a variety of positions, playing everywhere from centre-forward to wing-back. Despite being used in so many varied roles and systems, though, he still produced a mightily impressive 23 assists. He later admitted that playing all over the pitch gave him a greater appreciation of his teammates’ thinking and movement, strengthening his wavelength with them.
With Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo acquired in the summer, the midfielder looked set to assume his customary role. There was just one more event that would put the cherry on the icing on the cake.
Belgium had just thrashed Estonia 8-1 to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia but, significantly, it was a game that saw the attacking midfielder play a more withdrawn role. Such was De Bruyne’s impact in this position, Guardiola has decided to utilise him to similar effect this season; a tactical switch which has produced staggering results and prompted Pep to say: “Messi is on a table on his own. No-one else is allowed. But the table beside, Kevin can sit there.”
Now 26 years of age and an ineliminable fixture in Guardiola’s ostensibly unconquerable behemoth, De Bruyne is at the peak of his powers. His goal against Chelsea spoke of his nonpareil influence and further performances against Stoke and Arsenal have only solidified his early claims to become PFA Player of the Year.
His sublime goals, flashy step-overs and 40-yard passes may make the headlines, but it is his consistent ability to make the football look so simple that makes him special. The bullish, stubborn characteristics remain but they are blended with lovely, almost poetic technique.
De Bruyne was once dubbed “the modern Cruyff”’ by his under-21 manager at Genk and, in the words of the great man, himself: “Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.” When it comes to breaking down football’s complexities, there’s simply no one better OTHER BOLLOX
Real Madrid have made 24-year-old Tottenham striker Harry Kane their first choice to replace France forward Karim Benzema, 29. (Diario Gol via Daily Mirror)
Manchester United directors fear manager Jose Mourinho is ready to quit the Old Trafford club in the summer and will move to Paris St-Germain. (Sun)
United manager Mourinho is keen to add to his squad in January and is targeting Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti, 23. (Daily Mirror)
Neymar is doing his best to convince Liverpool playmaker and Brazil team-mate Philippe Coutinho, 25, to move to Paris St-Germain. (Le 10 Sport via Daily Mirror)
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi thinks team-mate and compatriot Javier Mascherano, 33, could return to Liverpool, the club the Argentine left in August 2010. (Diario Gol via Daily Express)
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has held talks with Chinese investors over a £500m stake to help fund a new stadium. (Sun)
Lyon forward Nabil Fekir, 24, has admitted he would be interested in a move to the Premier League following reports linking him with Arsenal. (Metro)
Alexandre Lacazette's agent says the 26-year-old forward is not worried about a lack of playing time at Arsenal this season. (FourFourTwo)
Chelsea have made an approach to sign 17-year-old Hamburg forward Jann-Fiete Arp. (SportBild via Metro)
Bayern Munich have joined Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Inter Milan striker and captain Mauro Icardi, 24. (Don Balon via Talksport)
Leeds United have had a £180,000 bid for 19-year-old Polish winger Kamil Jozwiak rejected by Lech Poznan. (Daily Mail)
Bristol City defender Aden Flint, 28, admits he "dodged a bullet" after missing out on a move to Birmingham City in the summer. (Birmingham Mail)
Neymar is reportedly lacking motivation to play for Paris St-Germain and sat out their 5-0 win over Angers to stay fresh for international duty with Brazil. (Daily Mail)
Hyde United were left with a huge bill after a flare was thrown onto their plastic pitch before they met MK Dons in their FA Cup first-round tie - but now Dons fans are raising money to help repair the damaged surface. (Manchester Evening News)TWITTERS 280 CHARACTER BOLLOXThe best of Wednesday's Bollox
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is Everton owner Farhad Moshiri's top target to become the club's new manager. (Sky Sports)
Sam Allardyce says that he has received no contact from Everton about the vacant managerial position at Goodison Park, but has suggested he would be willing to speak with the Merseyside club. (Talksport)
Real Madrid are planning to bid for Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata in January. The 29-year old Spaniard, omitted from United's team against Chelsea at the weekend, is out of contract next summer. (Daily Express)
Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, 29, is wanted by Turkish side Besiktas, who could make a move to sign him in January. (Daily Star)GOLDEN BOLLOX
On this day 8/11/1996
Steve Coppell wimps out of Man City after 33 days claiming stress of football management .... he appeared back at Crystal Palace, ironically, a mere 33 hours later as a scout before becoming their manager again some 2 months later
Snippets of the bollox from the last few days which I 'forgot' to upload correctly from my new PC
Monday 6th NovWenger has dig at his summer target?
Arsene Wenger accused Raheem Sterling of "diving" as the Arsenal manager claimed Manchester City will be even harder to stop if they continue to benefit from "unacceptable" refereeing decisions.
Wenger felt Sterling was guilty of simulation after tumbling under a challenge from Nacho Monreal early in the second half, which saw City awarded a penalty that Sergio Aguero converted.
And the Frenchman was also furious at the officials' failure to spot David Silva was offside in the lead-up to City's third goal from Gabriel Jesus.
"I believe it was no penalty," Wenger said. "We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well. And the third goal was offside. I am very upset because at 2-1 we were in the game. The third goal was the killer.
"I am disappointed. You can accept if it City win in a normal way, but this is unacceptable.
"Last season we lost two offside goals and it has happened again."
He added: "Can anyone stop (City)? It will be difficult this season, the way they have started and the quality they have but you never know. If on top of that they have decisions at home like that, they will be unstoppable."
City boss Pep Guardiola hit back, insisting: "We won in the best way and we deserved it by far.
"They tell me the third goal was offside and I don't like to win in that way, but Arsenal won in Burnley 0-1 with a hand, so sometimes it's like this."Watch David Silva literally runs rings around Arsenal in Man City winhttp://www.planetfootball.com/videos/wa ... -city-win/
more bollox later