Oleksandr Zinchenko’s Ukraine heartbreak as Man City boss Pep Guardiola meets Sheikh Mansour
Here are your evening Manchester City headlines for Sunday, June 5.
Heartbreak for Man City star Oleksandr Zinchenko
Ukraine and City star Oleksandr Zinchenko have been left crestfallen after failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup at the last hurdle.
Ukraine, whose World Cup qualifying play-off matches had to be delayed after Russia launched an invasion into the country on February 24, fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Wales at a boisterous Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday evening. Understandably, a number of Ukraine’s players were emotional upon the final whistle as they applauded their supporters.
Despite having less than ideal preparations, with a large chunk of their squad not having played a competitive match since the outbreak of the war, Ukraine still managed to overcome Scotland in their play-off semi-final on Wednesday. They triumphed 3-1 with a brilliant performance at Hampden Park.
Sheikh Mansour reveals details of planning meeting with Pep Guardiola
City owner Sheikh Mansour has shared images of himself meeting manager Pep Guardiola following the conclusion of the 2021/22 season.
Guardiola guided City to another Premier League title this season — their sixth since Mansour’s takeover in 2008 — and the club are pushing closer to Champions League success. Already this summer, they have signed Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez to bolster their squad for next season.
Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in his annual interview last week that City intend to add more players to their squad for their title defence, while he indicated that the club will sit down with Guardiola when the time was right to discuss a new contract.
Kyle Walker warns Man City not to make summer transfer mistake
After playing a crucial role in City’s dramatic comeback on the final day of the season, Zinchenko could be on his way out of the club this summer.
This season was the toughest of Zinchenko’s career, with the Ukrainian midfielder turned left-back having to perform at a high level despite the emotional distress caused by the invasion of his homeland by Russia. When news of the invasion broke at the end of February, Zinchenko was set on returning to Ukraine to fight, but after persuasion from family and friends, he stayed put and reminded everyone at City just what a superb talent he is.
The desperate situation has arguably strengthened the bond between Zinchenko, the club and fans, who the 25-year-old has repeatedly thanked for their unwavering support. However, the brutal truth is that footballers want to play regularly. Zinchenko made just 15 Premier League appearances this season, and with Arsenal reportedly interested in signing him, he could be tempted to move.