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Football transfer rumours: Manchester City to sign Barcelona's Lionel Messi?

Could Lionel Messi reunite with Pep Guardiola at Manchcester City? Photograph: Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

The most notable thing that Radamel Falcao did during his season at Chelsea was get a haircut but now the Colombian could be about to have a big impact on the Londoners’ title bid. Because word is that he’s the subject of a cashalicious offer from Tianjin Quanjian, the club who recently spurred Diego Costa’s sudden interest in Chinese culture. So far Monaco have rejected Tianjin’s advances but if that offer were to be increased and Falcao were to accept, then Chelsea’s life could be made a little easier and Costa would have to perform the most embarrassing climb-down since Peter Odemwingie went back to West Brom claiming he’d only gone to Loftus Road to find out why there’s a dental practice near the stadium called Batman.
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Meanwhile in Manchester, Pep Guardiola is preparing to confound his
doubters by staging a public spoon-bending show before next weekend’s
defeat by Spurs. He has already wowed his employers by describing in
meticulous detail how he intends to restore Manchester City to the position of
dominance that they fleetingly occupied. All he needs to implement it is
time, understanding, and another £250m, give or take the world record
signing of Lionel Messi.

Manchester United, meanwhile, continue to ready themselves for the arrival
of Antoine Griezmann, though the deal won’t be done until the summer.
Atletico Madrid will try to replace the Frenchman with their old mucker
Diego Costa, who by then could be sporting a new Premier League winner’s
medal around his necks or imprints of several boots on his arse. Michy
Batshuayi, meanwhile, will be jumping up and down trying to remind everyone
at Stamford Bridge of his presence, although someone at Chelsea does appear
to be aware that he is there because they rejected inquiries about him from
Paris Saint-Germain.

United are also keen to buy the left-back Kieran Tierney from Celtic.
Brendan Rodgers is eager to hold on to the player at least until the
Scottish Premier League title is secured. So a deal could be done at any
moment. It may take United longer to secure 16-year-old Vinicius Junior,
the Flamengo forward who has been dubbed ‘the new Neymar’, possibly by his
agent, or possibly by his mates in the playground.

United are also keen to duke it out with Arsenal for the services of the
Greek defender Kostas Manolas, who’s currently at Roma.
James McCarthy could be set to revive his career at Sunderland, or just
move there. Ronald Koeman has let the midfielder know his future lies away
from Goodison Park and is hopeful that if the Republic of Ireland
international goes to Sunderland, then that could facilitate Everton’s
attempt to prise Lamine Koné away from the Stadium of Light. Sunderland and West Ham are also pursuing after the Leeds United striker Chris Wood but so far neither has offered anywhere near enough to persuade the promotion-chasing club to let him go.

Middlesbrough are close to bringing Patrick Bamford back to their place for
good. Swansea City fancy a bit of Gaël Kakuta, who’s been a hot prospect for the best part of a decade.

And here’s a game to play with your friends: see who can name every player to
have played for Watford this season. If you wait until after next weekend
you may have to include Mauro Zárate, because the Hornets are said to be on his case.