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    What happens if Qatar group own Man Utd and PSG at the same time and can both play in Champions League?

    MANCHESTER UNITED could be joining Paris Saint-Germain under the umbrella of a Qatari investment group – but that could result in some unintended consequences.The Glazers announced in November that they are willing to listen to suitable offers for a stake in the Premier League giants.
    Qatar, ruled by Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (above), has owned PSG since 2011Credit: AP
    But since then, reports suggest that the United owners are now more interested in a FULL takeover bid.
    And it seems as if the most recent interest is coming from a Qatari group who could lodge a tantalising offer within the next few days.
    However, the same group owning two clubs in European competition may cause a slight problem.
    What happens if Qatar own Man Utd and PSG at the same time?
    There are no restrictions on an owner acquiring multiple clubs at the same time in different countries.
    Read more on Man Utd
    That means the reported Qatari group who are readying a bid for Manchester United, would have no problems doing so even if they are indistinguishable from the one in charge of Paris Saint-Germain.
    However, other rules apply to certain leagues where potential buyers of clubs do have restrictions.
    An example of this is the Premier Leaguem, which has restricted shareholding in a second club in the division to 10%.
    Most read in Football
    Can both teams play in Champions League?
    UEFA implemented a ‘Integrity of the UEFA Club competitions: Independence of clubs’ rule in 1998 which states that no two clubs participating in a UEFA competition may be directly or indirectly controlled by the same ownership group.
    This is defined by:

    The majority of the shareholders’ voting rights in another club in the same UEFA club competition;
    Or, another right to appoint or remove a majority of the directors in another club in the same UEFA club competition;
    As well as, majority of the shareholders’ voting rights (through a shareholders’ agreement) in another club in the same UEFA club competition.

    Therefore, if a Qatari group owned United while they and PSG qualify for the Champions League, the ownership group would more than likely have to choose who plays in it.
    These rules have been put in to place to protect the integrity of the competition. More

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    I feared I’d die in boozy session with Ray Parlour as Arsenal won Double – now I’m backing Mikel Arteta’s title chasers

    GILLES GRIMANDI feared for his LIFE on a drinking session with Ray Parlour at Arsenal.Former France ace Grimandi, 52, joined in summer 1997 when the infamous “Tuesday Club” was still going.
    Gilles Grimandi enjoyed a trophy-laded period at Arsenal between 1997 and 2002Credit: Getty
    David Seaman, Patrick Vieira and Gilles Grimandi carry the 1998 Premier League trophyCredit: Rex
    It was led by the likes of Parlour and skipper Tony Adams and Grimandi told SunSport: “I was only starting to speak English but I like good company so wanted to go. 
    “I went one day and I met many good drinkers. I said to Ray soon after, ‘I need to go home or I am going to die!’ Ray was laughing.
    “I was very surprised. Another day, a French player was smoking and the English players were shocked.
    “Yet the day before they were totally drunk and it wasn’t shocking. We had very different approaches to drinking and smoking.”
    READ MORE IN ARSENAL
    Fast forward 15 years and for the first time in a long time, Arsenal are clear at the Premier League summit.
    And high in the French Alps, a former two-time Gunners Double winner is starting to believe that Mikel Arteta has what it takes to emulate the great Arsene Wenger.
    Ex-French star Gilles Grimandi, 52, became something of a North London cult hero from 1997 to 2002 — winning two Premier Leagues and two FA Cups.
    In his first season in England, he was part of an incredible dressing room that overcame a 12-point gap from February 1998 to pip Manchester United to the title.
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    Twenty five years on and Arteta’s men are the ones being chased, five points clear with a game in hand on Manchester City heading into the home stretch.
    Yet speaking from his birthplace of Gap in south-east France — 750 metres above sea level — Grimandi sees the similarities between the past and present.
    Ex-midfielder Grimandi told SunSport: “To win the title, it is about confidence. 
    “You can play with the same players in a different season and you can just finish mid-table.
    “What is important is the manager convincing the players that they can do it. That’s not easy. 
    “In that 1998 season, we were in trouble. We were behind Manchester United by a lot of points.
    Grimandi believes Mikel Arteta can inspire Arsenal to some of the success the Gunners enjoyed in the late 90sCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
    “However, even then, Arsene was convincing us that we could come back. We didn’t believe it at first but he was always convinced we could.
    “As soon as it is in your head, when you believe you are strong enough and start to get results, you can win a title.
    “Every time we were on our way to a game, we were convinced that nothing wrong could happen, that we would win. 
    “I was not there for the Invincibles — but it felt exactly like that.
    “Likewise, Mikel Arteta is convinced that they can do it and I am more convinced now than I ever have been. 
    “I am an optimist, because I would love to see Arsenal win the title. But they now have the confidence to beat everyone. 
    Grimandi played alongside legends such as Dennis BergkampCredit: Getty
    “Even if they lose against Manchester City next week, they are convinced in their head that it can be done. It was not like this before. 
    “They haven’t made too many mistakes this season and I cannot see what will happen to see them lose the title. They will do it and I really hope they do. They deserve it.”
    It has been just under four years since Grimandi was involved in football.
    His short tenure as Nice technical director, working alongside old friend Patrick Vieira, ended in October 2019 following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of the club with INEOS.
    Before that, he worked as an Arsenal scout for 13 years, where he witnessed the club’s slow decline from 2006 onwards and the increasing difficulty in persuading players to join.
    He recalled: “The job of scouting is about finding but also missing players. For me, it is Kylian Mbappe. We just could not convince him.
    Arsenal ‘just could not convince’ Kylian Mbappe to join the club in 2013Credit: Getty
    “He was out of contract in June 2013 and we met him in February. If we could have convinced him to join, he would have changed the club — but he then decided on Monaco.
    “Arsenal were not always playing their best so it was quite complicated. At first it was easy, as soon as we talked to a player he wanted to sign it.
    “However, if you are not getting results it is difficult to bring top players to help the team. 
    “That’s why it is important to stay at the top for as long as possible. It is so much easier.
    “Yet the likes of Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah, who I watched develop, prove you should never forget the talent you have inside your club, even in difficult times.”
    By his own admission, Grimandi was not “especially talented”, and arrived in a dressing room in July 1997 brimming with experienced stars and intimidating characters.
    Martin Keown was one of many Arsenal legends Grimandi shared a pitch withCredit: Getty
    But it was not long before that squad’s physicality and aggression rubbed off on him.
    In October 2000, Lazio’s Diego Simeone required six stitches after being struck by Grimandi in a Champions League clash.
    The Frenchman was also sent off in September 1999 for blatantly elbowing Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola at the Nou Camp.
    When reminded of these incidents, Grimandi explained: “If you are not physical, you cannot win any trophies. We knew any opponent would find it tough against us. 
    Read More on The Sun
    “Maybe we lacked some physical ability with some of the more mature players. But our character was exceptional with Vieira, Martin Keown, Tony Adams and Dennis Bergkamp.
    “When I think about the five years, I realise now what it means to win trophies. But you also spend time with people that you will never forget.” More

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    Inside Man City’s panicky week after alleged financial rule breaches with top lawyer hired and stars fearing for futures

    PANIC is the word that best sums up Manchester City’s week so far.While City have turned to Lord Pannick KC to get them off the hook from the Premier League charges, many of their star players are in a flap about their futures.
    Pep Guardiola has much to ponder after a difficult week on and off the pitch for Manchester CityCredit: Getty
    City chief Khaldoon Al Mubarak is hoping to defend Man City against Premier League chargesCredit: Getty
    Kevin De Bruyne and co are trying to reel in Arsenal in the Premier League title raceCredit: Getty
    Certainly, there was much to ponder as most of the squad enjoyed a day off yesterday — with their club’s whole future up in the air all of a sudden.
    Boss Pep Guardiola faces a tough task to get their minds back on a huge few weeks in their season when they reassemble later this week.
    On Monday, they heard the news from the Premier League as they prepared to head to the Etihad Campus.
    There had been no mention of it when chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and other execs visited the away dressing room at Tottenham some 15 hours earlier.
    READ MORE IN MAN CITY
    Yet club sources insist they had been given no heads-up about what was coming down the line.
    So the squad turned up for a warm-down session in the afternoon to recover from the disappointing 1-0 defeat to Spurs.
    But before they hit the training pitches, chief executive Ferran Soriano addressed the squad in the first-team building at the City Football Academy.
    Just as he did when Uefa banned the club from the Champions League almost three years ago, he insisted they have done nothing wrong — and will clear their name.
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    The former Barcelona executive was right that time — the punishment was lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport five months later.
    City players, staff and fans around the world will be keeping everything crossed for a similar outcome this time.
    Yet after training — when the players headed for home — the enormity of the situation started to hit them and it is going to feel uneasy for some time.
    For the next few months at least, and possibly longer, there will be a huge cloud over the Etihad… and not just the traditional grey ones.
    The prospect of the club being kicked out of the Premier League is real and the extraordinary ride City have been on over the last 15 years could be about to come to a crashing halt.
    If they are found guilty and hit with the harshest sanction, where will that leave the first-­team players?
    City’s future is uncertain with the club facing over 100 charges
    Most of them joined City for the chance to play in the Champions League — not the Championship.
    Not many will have ‘relegation clauses’ in their contracts, as few agents would have deemed it to be necessary.
    That hardly matters as without the TV riches, the club could not afford their wages and would need a firesale to balance the books.
    Yet, somehow, they must put it all to the backs of their minds when returning to training.
    As unlikely as it may be given their current form, they are still in the hunt for three trophies this season.
    Nobody can be certain at this stage whether the response will be a girding of collective loins and an increased determination to make a point on the field.
    Lord Pannick KC has been drafted in to Man City’s legal teamCredit: Getty
    Or, if the threat creates a sense of resignation and doom that means players will not run the extra yard that can make the difference.
    So far, we have not heard from Guardiola or any of his players about the charges relating to 115 alleged breaches of Premier League rules over more than a decade.
    Guardiola, as he was three years ago, will be the one whose head is first above the parapet when he holds his press conference on Friday.
    But City fans will look back on the leadership and focus that the Spaniard demonstrated back in February 2020 — and hope they see a repeat now.
    Back then, Guardiola deployed the sort of tactics of which Sir Alex Ferguson would have approved.
    Fergie was the master of fostering a siege mentality, making any perceived slight against his club and players as a cause he expected the entire dressing room to buy into.
    Dark clouds loom over the Etihad after this week’s developmentsCredit: Getty
    That was very much the pose adopted by Guardiola — at least for the consumption of his squad and the wider City supporter base.
    When he gathered his players together in the immediate aftermath of the ban being announced, Guardiola looked them in the eye and told them all: “Whatever league we’re in, I will still be here.
    “Even if they put us in League Two, I will still be here. This is a time for sticking together.”
    And a few days later, he told the world’s media: “I’m completely sure of the commitment of our players.
    “It’s about what they’ve shown for many years. Nothing changes.
    “At the end of the season, nobody knows what is going to happen. With calm, we’ll decide what we want.
    “But for the next three months, the commitment will be incredible.”
    It got the response he wanted. Nobody will forget their brilliant and thoroughly deserved 2-1 win in the Bernabeu against mighty Real Madrid less than two weeks later.
    Read More on The Sun
    By a twist of fate, the last game City had played before the ban was announced was an unexpected Prem defeat at… Tottenham.
    Three years later, it is history repeating. And it will be a similar response that Guardiola needs now. More

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    Erik ten Hag has turned Old Trafford into fortress again as Man Utd boss aims to rekindle Sir Alex Ferguson’s 12th man

    ERIK TEN HAG has rebuilt Old Trafford into a fortress once again.During Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United glory days, it was often said opposition teams would be beaten in the tunnel before kick-off.
    Erik ten Hag has rebuilt Old Trafford into a fortress
    The Red Devils will contest a Carabao Cup final and are in the race for a top-four finish
    United are on a run of 13 wins at home
    Contrast that to last term, when the Red Devils failed to win 13 of their 26 matches on their own turf
    Ten Hag has led United to 13 wins in a row at home in all competitions in his first season in charge.
    Contrast that to last term, when the Red Devils failed to win 13 of their 26 matches on their own turf.
    A 14th Old Trafford victory tonight would put Ten Hag’s men joint-second in the table but the Dutchman has warned they face a real ‘Roses’ battle against old enemy Leeds.
    As things stand, United’s win rate at home in the Premier League under Ten Hag is an impressive 80 per cent.
    READ MORE ON MAN UTD
    That is their best since Fergie’s final season in charge in 2012-13.
    United’s points-per-game return of 2.5 at Old Trafford this term is also on par with that title-winning campaign under the legendary Scot.
    Ahead of United’s clash with Leeds, a buoyed Ten Hag said: “That was one of our aims this season, to get that back.
    “It was one of our aims as a part of the process to restore Manchester United to the top.
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    United’s home form
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    “Our home form is good. Away we have also good results — but we can still show even more personality and be more convincing.
    “That’s the next step we have to make, to have the same personality on the pitch away as we have at home.
    “But I’m really happy with the process at home, it’s great to have that connection at Old Trafford — but when we play away a lot of fans are following us.
    “Nothing changes really. So in that fact, we can grow.”
    It promises to be another cracking atmosphere at Old Trafford for the visit of Leeds, in the first part of a double header before the Red Devils head to Elland Road on Sunday.
    Ten Hag knows the historic rivalry.
    He said: “It’s the match of the Roses, it’s definitely a big game in this part of England.
    “We have Manchester City and Liverpool — but for our fans this means so much. Our players are aware of that and know what to do.”
    Man Utd’s team stats this season
    United face a club who have just ditched manager Jesse Marsch, with Chris Armas — the ex-Old Trafford coach under Ralf Rangnick — now in temporary charge.
    Ten Hag has warned that having prepared for a certain style of opponent under Marsch his side must be wary of a different approach.
    One of only two defeats for United since the Manchester derby loss to City on October 2 came when Aston Villa had just appointed a new boss in Spaniard Unai Emery.
    Dutchman Ten Hag said: “When Jesse Marsch was at Leeds it was clear how they played — now it’s possible they change.
    “We will only find out on the pitch but we need good anticipation for that. Better anticipation, for instance, than against Villa.
    “The difference when Emery came in was they had a week to prepare and now they don’t have so much time.
    “We will see — but we need to be proactive.”
    Ten Hag does not agree with the sacking of Marsch, insisting such changes rarely work out for the better in football.
    Marcus Rashford’s revival has been one of Ten Hag’s key successes
    He said: “It’s always sad if a manager, a colleague, gets sacked.
    “In general I don’t believe in it, that you sack a manager and get better results, most of the time it doesn’t work.
    “Let the manager finish their work and make a good evaluation.
    “But the pressure is high with decision-makers and they turn.
    “But if you see the facts, most of the time it doesn’t work out well.”
    There are certainly no question marks over Ten Hag’s position and he insists he is very much in it for the long term at Manchester United.
    He said: “I always think about the long term to build a culture, to build a way to play — to develop players and develop the team.
    “In the long term, also, in terms of contracts and transfer windows, because I think that is the way.
    Read More on The Sun
    “I am not here for one year, I am here longer.
    “I see it as a long-term project to build here and how long it is then I have to see. Today you can’t tell.” More

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    Man City charged LATEST: Club could face expulsion or RELEGATION after being charged with over 100 financial breaches

    PREMIER LEAGUE champions Manchester City could be EXPELLED from top-flight English football after their breach of 100 financial rules allegations.Other possible punishments include a points deduction for the reigning champions, transfer bans, spending limits and even the stripping of previous titles.
    The investigation into the club’s dealings has lasted for four years.
    And now the Premier League have published their findings on their website – and it does not make good reading for the Etihad club, although at this stage they have been charged but not found guilty.
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    Stay tuned with all the latest transfer news…
    City ‘punishment’ revealed
    Manchester City could reportedly only be. handed a “small points” deduction, according to Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol.
    He said on Sky Sports: “The overall sense is that most people expect this to end up with Manchester City to receive a small points deduction as punishment for the charges they face from the Premier League.”
    This would be significantly less serious than some of the punishments that have been reported.
    City could follow Juve
    The history and present struggles of Juventus may put a further dampener on the mood of Manchester City fans.
    City have pledged to fight the Premier League financial charges that threaten the future of the club. But Italian giants Juventus were also determined to fight their corner amid the 2006 “calciopoli” scandal and this term’s “capital gains” investigation which brought them a 15-point Serie A deduction.
    Since that penalty was imposed last month, the Old Lady dropped five points out of six.
    Juventus have appealed but Max Allegri’s seemingly shell-shocked side  have now found themselves well adrift of the final Champions League place.
    This is just the latest financial scandal to affect the Turin outfit, with the most serious seeing them relegated to Serie B 17 years ago.
    Juve were among the clubs sanctioned over the scandal which saw club chiefs interfering in refereeing appointments — although there was no evidence of match-fixing.
    But the Serie A winners received the heaviest punishment — with relegation and a nine-point penalty for the following season.
    Coach Fabio Capello and stars including Zlatan Ibrahimovic quit the club. Juve, who were stripped of their 2005 and 2006 titles, did not win Serie A again until 2011-12.
    Premier League slammed
    Spain’s football chief Javier Tebas has accused Premier League bosses of dragging their heels over ­Manchester City’s alleged financial irregularities.
    The LaLiga president has regularly claimed City only pay lip service to Uefa’s financial rules — and accused the Etihad club of  “breaching the economic controls”.
    But while the Spaniard welcomed the decision by Prem bosses to levy allegations of 115 rule breaches against City, he suggested it has come far too late.
    Tebas said: “On May 9, 2017, we denounced the financial fair play breaches by Manchester City and PSG at the Soccerex convention in Manchester.
    “It is incredible it has taken the Premier League years to find it out.
    “We denounce many more such cases. Will it take as many years for them, too?”
    Tebas’ comments will only serve to further alienate Prem chiefs. Just last week, he accused our clubs of “cheating” financially.
    Tebas said then: “The British market is a doped market. Most of the clubs are economically doped.
    “It is a competition that has lost billions of pounds. This is financed with contributions from  patrons — in this case large American investors — who finance at a loss.”
    Haaland ‘not the first’
    Erling Haaland would not be the first member of his family to play for Manchester City in the second tier.
    The reigning champions face the prospect of going back to the Championship if Premier League charges against them stick.
    Striker Haaland, 22, will know his father Alfie played in the division in his final games for City in 2001.
    The midfielder had a decent record too — he made three sub appearances, with City winning two and drawing another one.
    He watched from the sidelines injured for much of the campaign as Kevin Keegan’s side won the division with 99 points.
    But Erling’s favourite competition is the Champions League – so the Championship may not appeal.
    Credit: Alamy
    Wenger has ‘no sympathy’
    Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger has admitted he has no sympathy for Manchester City amid the club’s charges for rule breaches.
    When asked about the Citizens, the Frenchman joked no because they “bought all my players”.
    He continued to say on Hayters TV: “I think this is a deep question, sport is to win by respecting the rules.
    “We celebrate the best as long as they respect the rules. Rules exist and you have to respect them.”
    Credit: Getty
    Recap on today
    Here is a brief summary of what has been said about Manchester City’s charges today.

    Manchester City are “confident in their position” regarding the rule breaches they have been charged with.
    Newcastle have reportedly made it part of their strategy to avoid facing the same charges are Manchester City, according to reports.
    Manchester City have reportedly hired one of Boris Johnson’s “partygate” lawyers to help defend the club against charges from the Premier League.
    Pep Guardiola has become the second most likely Premier League manager to leave his job following the charges brought upon the club.
    Manchester City are reportedly still set to press ahead with their planned transfer business despite the charges of rule breaches hanging over their heads.

    City are ‘confident’ on charges
    Manchester City are “confident in their position” regarding the rule breaches they have been charged with.
    BBC journalist Mike Minay said: “It’s understood City were not given advance warning of the statement but are confident in their position (including those issues time-barred from UEFA) and believed to have provided this to PL some time ago.”
    Credit: Reuters
    Magpies looking to avoid City breaches
    Newcastle have reportedly made it part of their strategy to avoid facing the same charges are Manchester City, according to reports.
    Football Insider have said that the newly Saudi-owned side want to avoid charges being brought against them.
    Richard Busby – CEO of BDS Sponsorship, said: “With regards to City specifically, I don’t know a great deal besides the extensive information that is already in the public domain.
    “What I do know is that, privately, Newcastle particularly are well aware of it. I know from some of their comments that they don’t want to get into this situation.
    “Newcastle are being very sensible and saying: ‘We don’t want to go down this route’.”
    Big guns called
    Manchester City have reportedly hired one of Boris Johnson’s “partygate” lawyers to help defend the club against charges from the Premier League.
    The Lawyer report that City are now drafting in the biggest names from the legal professional to help defend their case.
    Respected lawyer Lord Pannick KC has been hired by the club as they look to clear their name.
    He has previously advised Boris Johnson over allegations that he partied in Downing Street during lockdown.
    Lord Pannick is widely believed to be one of the best barristers of his generation and is now set to be involved in what will likely be an extraordinary legal battle.
    It is also likely to be costly for club as Lord Pannick could reportedly be paid £80,000 a day, or £400,000 a week, should the case come to trial and he was to be working full-time.
    This wage would equal what star player Kevin De Bruyne is paid by the club.
    Ten Hag refuses City comment
    Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has refused to comment on the current issues amid charges of rule breaches.
    When asked about the cross-city rival’s situation, he remained focused on his own team.
    He said: “It’s about the match of the Roses.
    “It’s definitely a big game in this part of England, it’s a big game for us. We know we have Manchester City and Liverpool, but for our fans this means so much.
    “Our players are aware of that and know what to do.
    “I’m really happy with the process at home.
    “It’s great to have that connection at Old Trafford, but when we play away a lot of fans are following us.”
    Pep exit odds slashed
    Pep Guardiola has become the second most likely Premier League manager to leave his job following the charges brought upon the club.
    He is now only behind Southampton’s under fire boss Nathan Jones in the odds of William Hill.
    William Hill Spokesperson, Lee Phelps, said: “In an almost unprecedented set of events, we’ve been forced to dramatically shorten our price for Pep Guardiola to be the next Premier League manager to leave their post.
    “Our odds of 9/2 for the Spaniard to leave seem almost inconceivable given his previous price of 100/1 on Monday morning.
    “That makes the four-time Premier League winner the second favourite to depart their post, with under-fire Southampton boss, Nathan Jones, still the 2/5 frontrunner.”
    Transfer business ‘as usual’
    Manchester City are reportedly still set to press ahead with their planned transfer business despite the charges of rule breaches hanging over their heads.
    The club have been linked with stars such as Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and James Maddison to revitalise their squad.
    And The Athletic have suggested that the club will press ahead with their moves this summer.
    Credit: Getty
    City ‘expect’ Pep exit
    Manchester City are reportedly expecting Pep Guardiola to leave the club before the final decision over the rule breaches is made.
    The Athletic has suggested that his contract – which runs to 2025 – might not be long enough to see him through what could be a long saga.
    The Spaniard has previously suggested he would quite the club if he thinks he has been lied to.
    He said: “I said to them: ‘If you lie to me, the day after I am not here.
    “I will be out and I will not be your friend any more.
    “I put my faith in you because I believe you 100% from day one and I defend the club because of that’.”
    Currently, the club has adopted a ‘business as usual’ approach and are not expecting the manager to walk yet.
    War cry
    Man City will throw EVERYTHING they have to beat the Premier League and destroy the financial charges that threaten their top flight status.
    City chiefs are determined to ensure victory in what has become a fight for survival with Prem bosses after they were charged with 115 breaches of League rules.
    SunSport revealed that Prem rivals want City booted out of the top flight if the charges are proved.
    But that means the Etihad outfit will fight the process all the way, which could even mean going to the High Court or even the SUPREME Court – the highest legal platform in England – if required.
    And just as in their victory over Uefa after the Champions League ban three years ago, City will unleash an army of lawyers to defeat the Prem legal team and put the charges to bed for good.
    City remain furious at the timing of Monday’s charge drop, which took place during a telephone conversation between the League club chief executive Ferran Soriano.

    City slickers
    Man City are at risk of being relegated from the Premier League if found guilty of alleged financial breaches.
    The club has been accused of more than one hundred breaches between 2009-2018.
    They face possible punishments including a points deduction, transfer bans, spending limits and and stripping of previous titles.
    Another potential punishment is expulsion from the league, meaning relegation and a drop into the Championship.
    City have been in the top flight since the 2002-03 season, having won the Championship in 2002 with an impressive 99 points.
    That team included Erling Haaland’s dad Alfe-Inge, though he was a bit-part player with the likes of Stuart Pearce, Shaun Goater, and Shaun Wright-Phillips firing the Citizens to the Prem.

    Feeling blue
    City insist they would be “vindicated” in a defiant statement – but Premier League clubs want blood and a swift verdict AND punishment before the end of the season.
    One club chief said: “If these charges are proven there must be proper punishment – and the only fitting one is for them to be relegated.
    “We’re talking about a decade of alleged abuses and want the Premier League to do the right thing.”
    Should they be found guilty, the ramifications could be catastrophic for City – and even Pep Guardiola.

    Pep talk
    Pep Guardiola was pictured sitting on a drinks cooler box as he watched his players in action, seemingly deep in touch.
    On the pitches, his players got on with their drills, less than 24 hours after the defeat to Tottenham in North London.
    Guardiola had complained about the “exhausting” trip to the capital – but clearly had little sympathy for his stars following the loss.
    It seems those who did not start the match – such as Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Kalvin Phillips – were called in and put through their paces.

    Pool drained
    Liverpool are rock-bottom of the Premier League table… for results gained in 2023.
    And quite incredibly, it’s former strugglers Nottingham Forest who lead the way after a stunning turnaround under Steve Cooper.
    Liverpool have picked up just one point in four games this year.
    Despite signing Cody Gakpo, the Reds have been unable to strike up a winning formula on the field.
    And following their 3-0 hammering at Wolves, Jurgen Klopp’s men boast an awful goal difference of minus eight.
    But up the other end of the table, Forest are flying high thanks to their brilliant January.
    Last year’s play-off winners started the season poorly and were tipped by many for an immediate relegation.
    However, no side has picked up more points in 2023 than Forest, who also boast several clean sheets in the process.
    Next up are Brighton and Brentford, who have each gained an impressive 10 points after flying starts to the new year.
    Man Utd and Aston Villa have also reached that strong tally, albeit by playing an extra game.
    Man City and Spurs then fellow closely just one point behind.
    But Tottenham’s total of nine seems less impressive considering they have played six times since the turn of the year – the joint-most of any side.
    Interestingly, league leaders Arsenal are next with just seven points after dropping points to Newcastle and Everton.

    Peeved Pep
    Pep Guardiola had a face of thunder when he was seen for the first time since the news of City’s alleged financial breaches broke.
    The Premier League released the findings of their four-year investigation yesterday morning.
    Guardiola then put the bombshell, unprecedented allegations aside to prepare for Sunday’s home clash with Aston Villa.

    ‘Transparent’
    Yaya Toure’s former agent Dimitri Seluk has DENIED getting secret payments from Manchester City amid a number of charges levelled at the club.
    City are facing more than 100 allegations of breaches of financial rules following a four-year investigation.
    Among the reported charges are allegations that Seluk received secret payments from Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi United Group during his ex-client’s time at the club.
    However, Seluk told the Daily Mail: “No, everything was transparent, there was nothing on the back side.
    “I am interested to see what happens as this was a surprise.
    “Yaya, of course, paid everything – tax and everything. It was all transparent.”

    Numbers game
    The two sides battling it out to win the Premier League title both lost this weekend.
    Arsenal were hit by the famous new-manager bounce as Sean Dyche’s Everton took a deserved 1-0 win at Goodison Park on Saturday.
    On Sunday, though, Manchester City missed the chance to close the gap at the top of the table to two points by suffering the same scoreline at Tottenham.
    But how does that impact how the season is predicted to finish?
    Mikel Arteta will breathe a sigh of relief as his side are still expected to win the Premier League for the first time since 2004 come the end of May.
    The number-crunching BETSiE is convinced the defeat at Everton is just a blip – and the Gunners will march on to lift the trophy.
    The Betting Expert supercomputer simulated the remainder of the season a whopping 100,000 times, taking into account results so far this season, pre-season expectations and xG for and against for all 20 clubs.
    And the results churned out will make happy reading for Arsenal fans.
    The figures project the Gunners to end the season with 27.1 wins, 5.6 draws and 5.3 defeats – with a grand total of 86.9 points.
    And that would see Arteta’s men finish exactly seven clear of rivals Manchester City on 79.9 – with 24.5 wins, 6.5 draws and 7.1 defeats.

    Out of sight
    Man City could be EXPELLED from the Premier League after being charged with alleged breaches of financial rules.
    In theory if City were kicked out of the league, all of their results this season could be wiped off the board.
    Dover Athletic saw their results expunged in the 2020-21 National League campaign when they failed to see out the season, meaning the remaining teams officially played 42 games instead of 44.
    Should that be replicated, the seven sides to pick up points against City this campaign would see those results taken away.
    A number of punishments for City are possible – from a slap on the wrist and a fine to enforced relegation or even expulsion from the Prem.
    And a Prem table if City were expelled today, with all of their results wiped, leaves Arsenal ELEVEN points clear at the top.

    City break their silence
    An independent commission will now hear the charges levelled against the Premier League champion.
    City released a statement on Monday insisting they are confident of not having breached any rules.
    It read: “Manchester City FC is surprised by the issuing of these alleged breaches of the Premier League Rules, particularly given the extensive engagement and vast amount of detailed materials that the EPL has been provided with.
    “The Club welcomes the review of this matter by an independent Commission, to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position.
    “As such we look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.”
    Credit: Getty
    Not Gunner believe this
    An Arsenal member will chair the independent commission into Manchester City following their alleged breaches of financial rules.
    The reigning champions have been charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches between 2009 and 2018.
    City are now facing a potential points deduction, while other punishments could include transfer bans, spending limits and even having their previous titles stripped.
    At this stage City have been charged but not found guilty.
    The man set to be investigating their off the field conduct is Arsenal member Murray Rosen KC.
    According to BBC, Rosen has been appointed as the chair of the independent commission looking into City’s wrongdoings.

    Ji-nius
    Ex-Man City defender Sun Jihai is now a businessman and talk show host worth £20MILLION.
    The ex-China international, 45, spent six years in the blue half of Manchester between 2002 and 2008.
    He played 130 times for City, helping them return to the top flight during his first six months at the club.
    He also made history at Man City by becoming the first Chinese player to score in the Premier League.
    Jihai went on to spend a season with Sheffield United in the Championship as City sold him following their 2008 takeover.
    He enjoyed seven more years playing back in China, accumulating 80 caps for his country, before eventually hanging up his boots in 2016.
    But he has arguably had more success since retiring from football.
    Jihai co-founded a sports data company, HaiQui Sports [HQ], in the year he retired from the game.

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    Qatar group ‘to bid for Man Utd in DAYS with Ten Hag set for huge transfer kitty as investors confident of Glazers sale’

    QATARIS are in the running to buy Manchester United and are set to launch a takeover bid in DAYS.The Glazers revealed in November that they were willing to listen to offers for either a stake in the Premier League giants or an outright purchase.
    A Qatar-based investment group will bid to buy Man Utd and want to boost manager Erik ten Hag’s transfer kittyCredit: Getty
    The Glazers revealed late last year that they were willing to listen to offers for the Old Trafford clubCredit: AFP
    A redevelopment, or complete rebuild, of Old Trafford wouldn’t bee an issue for the Qataris
    A number of parties have expressed an interest in buying United, which could be purchased for a world-record price for a sports franchise at close to, or above, £6billion.
    Interest comes from the Far East, Middle East and United States with Raines Group, the merchant bank tasked with the sale.
    British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who happens to be a Man Utd fan, is also keen.
    But according to the Daily Mail, a Qatar-based investment group will bid for Man Utd.
    READ MORE ON MAN UTD
    The report states that “a group of private, high-wealth individuals based in the oil-rich state, buoyed by Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup, have set their sights on” the Old Trafford club.
    An offer is expected to be made in the coming days ahead of the mid-February deadline set by the Glazers.
    The investment group are said to be confident that their bid blow any competition out of the water, and want to significantly boost manager Erik ten Hag’s transfer kitty.
    As well as coughing up more than £6bn for the club, the Qatari group could face a project of redeveloping, or knocking down Old Trafford and building a new state-of-the-art facility.
    Most read in Football
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    That could cost north of £2bn – but that would not be a problem.
    The Qataris are also putting fan engagement at the heart of their takeover bid.
    They will seek the views of supporters on the future of Old Trafford.
    However, a stumbling block that could block a takeover is Qatar Sports Investments’ ownership of European juggernaut, Paris Saint-Germain.
    One entity cannot own two clubs in the same competition — and United and PSG could meet in Europe.
    The bid for United would come from separate, individual Qatari investors and there is ZERO interest in taking a partial stake – something the Glazers have been interested in.
    A source is quoted as saying: “There are significant funds available.
    “These people are serious. They want to make sure that United are where they should be and they are confident theirs will be the strongest bid.
    “They want to strengthen the squad to put them back at the top but they also want this to be for the good of the community.
    “They also want to build on the success of the World Cup.
    “They recognise that Manchester United is the biggest football club in the world, the crown jewels, and there is a steely-minded determination to buy it and get it to where it should be.”
    Read More on The Sun
    A successful bid would enhance United’s rivalry with Manchester City, who are under ownership based in fierce Gulf neighbours, Abu Dhabi.
    It would also see United go up against Saudi-owned Newcastle.
    Man Utd’s next five games More

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    Wrexham miss out on Hollywood ending as Sheff Utd score 94th-minute winner in FA Cup and Grimsby stun Luton in thrashing

    WREXHAM’s Hollywood FA Cup run came to a cruel end as they were dumped out by Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in a fourth-round replay.The Blades looked like they’d assert their dominance over the National League side early on, controlling large parts of the possession and registering significantly higher passing accuracy and shots.
    Sheffield United beat the non-league side with two added time goalsCredit: Rex
    Wrexham fought their way back into the game with Paul Mullin netting from the penalty spotCredit: Getty
    Wrexham have missed out on an FA Cup fifth-round date with TottenhamCredit: Rex
    And they found a breakthrough just after the restart through highly rated defender Anel Ahmedhodzic.
    The 23-year-old continued his run into the Wrexham penalty area and kept a cool head as he fired in at the near post.
    But Wrexham weren’t going to go down without a fight and won a spot-kick just nine minutes after Ahmedhodzic’s opener.
    Paul Mullin stepped up and thumped home the equaliser – his 28th of the season and his eighth in the FA Cup alone.
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    With 20 minutes to go, Wrexham found themselves with another penalty-kick, and a golden chance to give themselves a shot at dumping Sheffield United OUT – but Mullin had his shot saved by Adam Davies despite it being a clean strike.
    Sheffield were unlucky to not be awarded a penalty close to handball at full-time – but the non-league side escaped punishment with VAR not in play.
    And the Championship side stuck a blade into Wrexham and twisted it in one final, cruel blow with two injury time goals.
    Billy Sharp scored followed by Premier League-linked Sander Berge.
    Most read in FA Cup
    Grimsby thumped LutonCredit: Reuters
    Fleetwood beat Sheff Wednesday, who top League OneCredit: Reuters
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    Sheffield will now contest a fifth-round tie against Tottenham, ending Wrexham’s incredible FA Cup journey under A-listers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
    Elsewhere, League Two Grimsby shocked Luton Town.
    The home side found themselves 3-0 up at half-time, and held their nerve after the restart, keeping a clean sheet and setting up a fifth-round date with Premier League Southampton.
    League One Fleetwood stunned third tier side Sheffield Wednesday.
    On-loan winger Carlos Mendes Gomes netted the winner to see off the table toppers.
    Fleetwood will now play Burnley, who dumped out Ipswich with a 2-1 win.
    A Nathan Tella brace fired the Championship leaders into the fifth round.
    Nathan Tella netted a brace to help Burnley beat IpswichCredit: Getty More

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    ‘I can deny these stories’ – Juventus chief confirms club will NOT terminate Paul Pogba’s contract despite horror return

    A JUVENTUS chief has confirmed that Paul Pogba will not have his contract terminated. Reports and rumours have spread like wildfire in recent days as speculation mounted that the Manchester United midfielder could be set for a premature exit at the Italian side.
    Paul Pogba’s return to Juventus has not gone to plan due to a serious knee injuryCredit: AFP
    He has yet to play a minute of competitive action since returning to the the club due to a long-term knee injury sustained in the summer.
    Despite his big wages, Juve have made clear they are sticking by the midfielder.
    Chief Football Officer Francesco Calvo, who was appointed to the role in January, is quoted as saying: “We are not planning to terminate Pogba’s contract, I can deny these stories.
    “He’s an important player for us, the injuries are part of the game but Paul is training well and we wait for him.”
    READ MORE ON FOOTBALL
    Pogba returned to Turin in July after leaving Man United on a free transfer.
    The 29-year-old had a mixed second spell at Old Trafford, often finding himself the target of criticism from fans and pundits but capable of putting in world-class performances.
    He rejoined United after a glorious four year spell with Juventus.
    Pogba was at the centre of four Serie A title victories between 2013 and 2016 and also won the Coppa Italia twice.
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    The Old Lady look far off that type of success this season after a 15 points deduction for alleged financial irregularities left them languishing in mid-table.
    A poor Champions League group stage has also seen Juventus drop into the Europa League. More