City step up prepa­ra­tion for Real clash as talks con­tinue over Tor­res

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By James Ducker

Manch­ester City plan to play a be­hind-closed-doors friendly this week­end in prepa­ra­tion for next week’s Cham­pi­ons League clash against Real Madrid, as ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tinue with Va­len­cia over a deal for Fer­ran Tor­res, the Spain Un­der-21 winger.

City’s play­ers are due to re­turn to­mor­row for the start of an in­ten­sive train­ing pe­riod lead­ing up to the se­cond leg of their last-16 tie against the Span­ish cham­pi­ons at the Eti­had Sta­dium on Fri­day week.

Pep Guardi­ola is tak­ing no chances ahead of the Real game as he seeks to take ad­van­tage of his side’s 2-1 win in the first leg in the hope of set­ting up a quar­ter-fi­nal against Ju­ven­tus or Lyon in Lis­bon.

City’s prepa­ra­tions are also likely to in­volve a friendly at the club’s train­ing base or the Eti­had as Guardi­ola at­tempts to main­tain fit­ness lev­els and com­pe­ti­tion.

“Ev­ery­one wants to play in that game [against Real] – they are train­ing for that,” Txiki Be­giris­tain, City’s di­rec­tor of foot­ball, said.

Guardi­ola said he would watch all of Real’s 11 La Liga games since lock­down in ad­di­tion to those matches they have played with­out Ser­gio Ramos, their cap­tain, who is sus­pended be­cause of his red card in the first game against City.

Kevin De Bruyne, the City mid­fielder, said. “Now we’ve a cou­ple of days to re­cover and then 10 days of full train­ing and just pre­par­ing our­selves for the big game. If we do well we have four games left, but if we do re­ally bad then it’s just one.”

Be­giris­tain is press­ing ahead with City’s re­build­ing plans for next sea­son and Tor­res could be their first ar­rival. The winger is ea­ger to join, as a re­place­ment for the de­parted Leroy Sane, but Va­len­cia are hold­ing out for £40mil­lion for the player, who has en­tered the fi­nal 12 months of his con­tract.

City are also pur­su­ing a deal for Nathan Ake, the Bournemout­h de­fender, and an­other cen­tre-back should John Stones and/or Ni­co­las Ota­mendi leave. Guardi­ola would also like a left-back.

“We are work­ing a lot, we have to be ready,” Be­giris­tain said. “It will be a strange win­dow. We have to bring in play­ers who can im­prove our squad, but also it means that maybe some­one can leave.”

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