Gossip: Foden ‘frustration’ could let Real stun City

Manchester City have made plans to keep John Stones. But Phil Foden might take things into his own hands.

Pep Guardiola clearly likes Phil Foden. He described him as David Silva’s natural successor this time last year. And both have thus far resisted the suggestion from Stan Collymore to go out on loan for a couple of seasons.

But he isn’t playing an awful lot. Eight Manchester City players have more minutes than Foden’s 1134 in all competitions – pretty decent in isolation – but he has spent just 100 minutes on the pitch during the club’s current six-game unbeaten Premier League run, culminating in his stoppage-time introduction against Newcastle.

Clubs will inevitably circle if that continues. The Sunday Mirror, right on cue, say Real Madrid are ‘serious suitors’ that ‘have been given encouragement’ by his predicament.

With Foden’s ‘frustration’ levels ‘beginning to grow’, there is ‘belief’ in Spain that a deal could be struck and ‘fears are growing’ in England that he could be off.

John Stones is faring rather better than his fellow England international at the Etihad. He has slowly worked his way back into Guardiola’s plans and Manchester City have conceded a single goal in 795 minutes with him on the pitch this season: on the opening day against Wolves.

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It has brought his contract back to the fore, with his current deal expiring in summer 2022. The Star on Sunday claim that will be extended as Stones has left Manchester City ‘convinced’ that ‘he is worth keeping in the long-term’.

He was being flogged to Arsenal or West Ham in July. Not a bad turnaround.

This is not to say that transfer speculation is pretty thin on the ground this festive season but Sam Johnstone to Leeds or Brighton is our third story and you really absolutely must learn to deal with it.

The 27-year-old has impressed for relegation-battling West Brom and has emerged as one of few Baggies with his reputation enhanced. He also has but 18 months left on his contract and The Sun believe some Premier League rivals might be interested.

West Brom could even be tempted to take £7m or so at the end of the season but it really does depend on where they end up. Sam Allardyce, as ever, is central to everything.

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