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Man City hijack Man United deal for £46m midfielder

Man City have hijacked a £46m deal that would have seen rivals Man United sign Benfica midfielder Renato Sanches.

Sanches is set to leave Benfica for Manchester. Credit: PA

According to reports in Portugal, Pep Guardiola was so impressed with the 18 year old during Bayern Munich's two Champions League ties against Benfica that he instructed City officials to pursue the teenager immediately.

With the media reporting that United are on the brink of confirming the Portuguese international, it remains to be seen whether he favours a move to the blue half of Manchester.

After starring for Benfica's B team in 2014/15, Sanchez forced his way into the first team in October 2015, two months after celebrating his 18th birthday.

A string of commanding performances since then earned Sanches his first two senior Portugal caps as he began drawing comparisons with Paul Pogba, the French international whose loss at Old Trafford still rankles with the club's hierarchy.

One key factor in the chase for Sanches could boil down to whether Jose Mourinho replaces Louis van Gaal in the summer, since Mourinho and Sanches are both represented by Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes.

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Black: It is not fun being Aston Villa boss

Eric Black only knows defeat. Credit: PA

Aston Villa caretaker manager Eric Black admits he has not enjoyed being in charge of the sinking club.

The 52-year-old has lost his four games since taking over from Remi Garde last month and Villa were relegated from the Barclays Premier League on his watch two weeks ago.

I've got to be honest - I don't think there's been a lot of enjoyment.

I don't want it to sound like I'm looking for sympathy because I'm not but there's a lot of negativity around, especially over the last seven or eight weeks and that has made it hard.

This is not a normal job in football, you're not working with normal football elements here.

But the elements are what they are and I'm caretaker manager so I will do what I can to make sure it remains professional and hopefully get a result Saturday.

– Eric Black

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Facebook Football Awards Best XI: midfielders

Dele Alli, Mesut Ozil, N'Golo Kante, Dimitri Payet, Riyad Mahrez and Willian are the six midfielders vying for three midfield spots in the Premier League Best XI at this year’s Facebook Football Awards

Ozil or Alli – who would you rather have in your team? Credit: Oulala

The awards allow you, the fans, to choose your Best XI on ITV Football's Facebook page, with the team announced live during our live awards show on May 9th.

We’ve asked Oulala to examine the key stats between the two attacking midfielders on the list – Mesut Ozil and Dele Alli – as a way of helping you decide which player deserves to be included in your team.

And the figures show that Ozil has already produced 18 assists, more than any other player in the Premier League, and twice as many as Alli, who has scored four more goals than the Arsenal star.

Ozil has also executed more key passes, created a greater number of chances and completed more successful take-ons. Alli, on the other hand, has been slightly more clinical in front of goal, with a 14% conversion rate compared with Ozil's ratio of 13%.

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