Inside Football: Pep Eyeing Up Valdes, Winger in Frame for Liverpool Move

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportMay 10, 2017

Inside Football: Pep Eyeing Up Valdes, Winger in Frame for Liverpool Move

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    Pep Guardiola is on the hunt for a new goalkeeper, and now the door is opening for him to make a move for former Barcelona star Victor Valdes.

    Guardiola was left with egg on his face, as he ditched England No. 1 Joe Hart at the start of the season and replaced him with Claudio Bravo, who has gone on to make high-profile mistakes throughout the campaign.

    This week in Inside Football, I reveal how a change in circumstance could see Valdes heading to the Etihad to heal City's issues between the sticks.

    There is also news on how Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs could finally land his first management job, Liverpool looking towards new options on the wing and Thomas Vermaelen possibly heading back to England.

Valdes and Pep Reunited?

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    Valdes will leave Middlesbrough this summer, and Manchester City are showing interest in the prospect of getting him on board.

    He has had a great season, despite Boro being relegated, and is now beginning to think about his next club.

    Valdes has a release clause that means he will be able to walk away this summer as a free agent, and I understand City have touched base to discuss his situation.

    It is early days, but even that they are looking in to the possibility is intriguing.

    City have also been deliberating over the signing of Jordan Pickford from Sunderland, but he is likely to join Everton with a promise of first-team football.

    There is uncertainty about whether Cluadio Bravo will remain at Man City for next season, while Willy Caballero is also unsure what the future holds. Joe Hart is almost certain to move on.

    It means at least one new goalkeeper is a priority for Guardiola before next season, and I'm told he is open to the idea of linking up with Valdes again.

    Keeper Valdes played under Pep for four years at Barcelona, a period in which the pair won 14 trophies together.

Ryan Giggs in Frame for Boro Job

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    Giggs and Jonathan Woodgate could combine at Middlesbrough next season as the club's new management team.

    Boro axed Aitor Karanka in March, and Steve Agnew took over in a bid to ignite a run of form to keep them in the division.

    But now they have lost their place in the top flight, chairman Steve Gibson is carefully considering his options.

    Manchester United legend Giggs is right at the top of the list of contenders, with Nigel Pearson also on a shortlist. 

    But Giggs is the most exciting prospect, and sources on Teesside have told me Gibson would be willing to keep on current coach Woodgate to work alongside him.

    Gibson likes to give out first-time management jobs, having previously allowed Bryan Robson, Steve McClaren and Gareth Southgate to make their breakthrough.

Liverpool Looking at Ramadan

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    Liverpool are big admirers of Ramadan Sobhi and could be tempted to make a move for him sooner than planned.

    Their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen's Julian Brandt seems to have hit a brick wall, and it means they are having to look in to other options.

    And Egyptian star Ramadan is someone being discussed at boardroom level.

    He joined Stoke City last summer and is happy to continue his progression at the Britannia Stadium, as detailed here.

    The player is aware of interest from big clubs but has not been expecting any firm offers to arrive this year.

    However, with a deal for Brandt not going any further, I'm told the Reds may sound out Stoke about the possibility of a deal.

Watford Move for Vermaelen

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    Thomas Vermaelen is to be offered a Premier League return with Watford.

    The former Arsenal defender is currently on loan at Roma from Barcelona but is looking for a new club for next season.

    Vermaelen, 31, is seen as the type of player needed to add experience and quality to Watford's back line as they reshuffle the squad ahead of next term.

    Watford, who have conceded 58 goals, believe Vermaelen is interested in the possibility of playing in the Premier League after leaving Arsenal in 2014.