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  1. The temperature on the Apennines is warming up as the top four teams are all within 4 points of each other. Napoli is leading the charge sitting on top of the table with 42 points in 17 matches. The margin for error is smaller than ever now, so you can expect all top teams to put pedal to the metal to get the best possible position before the winter break. Also, you won't be watching Italians in their usual Sunday schedule due to Christmas, so all of the matches take place on Friday and Saturday. Now, let's get rolling with the preview! Chievo vs Bologna (Friday) The action begins in Veneto where Chievo and Bologna will clash at the Stadio Marcantio Bentegodi. These two sides have accumulated the same amount of points at this stage – 21, with Bologna sitting in 12th place and Chievo just underneath in 13th. Chievo are out of form, collecting just 2 wins in 10 last league matches. Last week, they suffered unexpected lost away at Crotone and they will most certainly want to make up for that in front of their own fans. Inglese is their main hope in the offensive department with 6 goals next to his name, and he'll want to add to that against a solid Bologna side that suffered two loses in the last two games after a series of good results. It should be noted that the defeats came at the hands of Juventus and Milan, so it certainly shouldn't bring their morale down, especially considering the dip in form Chievo is feeling lately. Factoring it all in, these two sides could easily neutralize each other, and the draw could be on the cards here. Prediction: Draw Cagliari vs Fiorentina (Friday) 14th placed Cagliari host Fiorentina as they bid to move further away from the danger zone. They haven’t been impressive this season, but certainly good enough to avoid relegation, one would think. Last week, they suffered a heart-breaking loss to Roma by conceding a penalty in the 94th minute. The hosts have been able to get all the important victories against relatively weaker teams, but they still didn’t make an upset losing to all top 10 teams they went up against. It’s pretty unlikely they’ll get a clean sheet as they concede an average of almost two goals in their own home. On the other hand, Fiorentina are just 4 points short of European spots, so they’ll definitely go all-in to take the win tomorrow, as these are the type of games they should be winning if they want to play in Europe next season. Viola have been struggling with the efficiency recently scoring just 5 goals in the same number of matches, only enough to get 4 draws and just a single win. Fiorentina will rely on Thereau who showed up in big fashion this season, scoring 4 goals and adding the same number of assists. Behind the strikers, their main man is this summer’s acquisition Jordan Veretout, and 24 year old Frenchman looks like he’s the future of Fiorentina. With Cagliari’s inefficiency and Fiorentina’s solid defensive structure I can see I Viola getting something more in this one. Prediction: Fiorentina Lazio vs Crotone (Saturday) Lazio will host Crotone in Rome in the opening Saturday game of Italian football this week. The game is scheduled at 12:30 CET, and the hosts surely schedule a win in their calendar. The Eagles look to make a leap to the Champions League spots, sitting in 5th, 5 points behind their arch rivals, Roma. Fueled by Immobile’s inspiring scoring streak, with 15 goals in 16 matches, Lazio are playing offensive and beautiful football under the less famous Inzaghi brother, Simone. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is playing beyond all expectations this season, mixing skill and strength in a way you don’t see very often when looking at young players like him and there’s no doubt Lotito will have offers for the youngster flying at his desk this summer. Luis Alberto is another rising star. The La Masia dropout is now in incredible form and adding a special bit of flair to Inzaghi’s mixture of strength, skill and offensive football. Crotone on the other hand, mainly look to avoid relegation, and from this point of view, it looks like it’s going to be a long battle for them. The board reacted to the string of bad results with the appointment of experienced international, Walter Zenga. In their 8 away matches, they have been only able to get a single draw and a win, piling up 6 losses, and that itself says a lot. Furthermore, the guests scored abysmal 6 goals in 8 away matches, conceding 20 in the same period. All in all, Lazio will look to get back on track in the Champions League hunt, and it’s must-win situation for them against a weak opponent, and to make things worse for Crotone, Zenga is suspended for this match and won’t be able to help his team from the sidelines. Prediction: Lazio Genoa vs Benevento (Saturday) "Saint Gennaro, please don't forget you are from Benevento,“ was the message of Benevento fans, who can now only rely on miracle of Saint Gennaro in order to avoid quick relegation. As things stand, it looks impossible for a spirited Benevento side to snatch spot number 17, but bigger miracles did happen, and the attitude their side is showing is just impressive, despite historically bad results. Benevento side were able to "steal“ a fairytale point off of Milan in the incredible string of events which eventually led to sacking of Montella. They even took the lead in their clash with fellow newly-promoted side SPAL, but couldn't hold on to it, falling in an even bigger hole result-wise. On the other hand, matches like these are perfect opportunity for Ligurians to escape the relegation zone, but the way Genoa are playing this season, nothing is sure as they couldn't get an even single win in their own stadium the whole season. The way things are standing, the uninspired hosts could be suprised by the resistance the Benevento side has been showing lately. Prediction: Draw Napoli vs Sampdoria (Saturday) One of the best matches you’ll find this weekend is the clash in Naples. Sarri’s troops will host the Northerners from Genoa in their pursue for the Scudetto, the first one since 1990 and the unforgettable Maradona years. Napoli look like they have it all sorted out, the fans were always 100% with the club, they never trusted a coach like they do the former bank employee who happens to be the conductor of some of the most beautiful football in Europe. They lost only one match in Serie A, and Hamsik finally took a big burden off his back by scoring his 115th goal and equalizing Maradona’s record. Mertens is facing a goal drought of 5 games, and it certainly affects his confidence, so he’s definitely a man who wants to get back on track. Napoli can’t let this slip as Sampdoria is slowing down as the season progresses, and they don’t look as good as they a month ago, which however still doesn’t mean they don’t represent a viable threat. Fabio Quagliarella will return to San Paolo, and despite the fact he’ll get the warmest welcome in the world, don’t forget he’s a natural killer in front of goal, and a true threat for any defence out there. Sampdoria don’t look good lately as they were only able to pick up a single draw and three defeats in last 4 Serie A matches. They are standing at suprising 6th spot, but they can’t relax as the competition in the league is fierce this season, and few more slip-ups could see them falling down to middle of the table. Also, the fact they won only 9 points in 8 away games doesn’t really help them either against an opponent of this strength. Prediction: Napoli Sassuolo vs Inter (Saturday) With the suprrising 3-1 loss to Udinese last weekend, Inter were knocked off of number 1 spot, and now sit in 3rd place just one and two points short of Juventus and Napoli, respectively. The host from Modena is rising, collecting 6 points in their last two league games. They managed to stun Sampdoria with Matri’s winner in 90th minute, lifting the spirits in Sassuolo after a disappointing start of the season. Sassuolo is one of the worst home teams in the league, collecting miserable 5 points in eight matches. However, they were able to stop the wineless streak at home against Crotone, and now they look like they’re on the rise, and they want to escape the relegation zone as they are just 3 points off undesirable spots. It looks like the appointment of Beppe Iachini brought them some much needed spark, but is it just short-term shock therapy or do they have it in them to make this streak last? Spalletti took his magic to Milano this summer and brought up the best of his Inter side. Now, after nine fixtures, Nerazzurri look like legitimate title candidates, led by beastly Mauro Icardi. The amazing Argentinian managed to bag in 17 goals and is looking as the main Capocannoniere candidate for the best scorer of the league. He gets a lot of help from his favorite winger, Ivan Perisic, who is playing out of his mind lately, and the Manchester rumors will only get bigger if he keeps playing at this pace. Inter have no time to waste if they want to knock Juventus off of their throne, and they need to get back on winning track quickly, and no slip-ups are allowed at this point for them. Prediction: Inter SPAL vs Torino (Saturday) SPAL claimed a hard-earned win playing away at Benevento last weekend. Character they shown after going down 1-0 to win the match will definitely be encouraging coming into a tough fixture for Leonardo Semplici and his team. SPAL is topping the relegation zone with 14 points, just like 17th placed Genoa. Another good sign for SPAL is that Floccari was able to score a brace last weekend, showing he could be a valuable asset in the relegation battle. The less famous Turin club fell to defeat last week to Napoli, but they were able to bounce back with a big win against Roma in the Italian Cup. Torino is now in the middle of the table at 10th and Mihajlovic and his players are looking up to grab European spots, being just 4 points short off 7th placed Sampdoria. Their main-man Belotti isn’t playing as expected this season scoring just 4 goals for now, but he is contributing in other aspects, and we’ll surely see the best of him as the season progresses. Iago Falque proved to be important for Mihajlovic’s side with 5 goals up to this points, more than enough for a winger. In their last away match, Torino were able to beat Lazio 3-1 in a great match, where they could’ve scored 3 more goals if they were focused enough. Considering Torino’s solid record in the away matches and SPAL’s oscillating form, you can expect to see Belotti step up and lead his team to victory here. Prediction: Torino and Belotti to score Udinese vs Verona (Saturday) Following Udinese season-to-season it just seems like every next year is a replay of the last one. Just like always, Udinese comfortably sit middle of the table, safe enough not to be worried about relegation, but without any ambition for the European spots. The hosts are in great form, collecting 9 points in the last 5 league matches, and they look like they're on the rise, so Saturday's clash with Verona could see them continue their spirited streak as they are getting contributions from all sides, with Lasagna, Barak and De Paul having scored 14 goals between themselves. Sitting second-to-bottom of the table, Verona isn't looking good this season. They score an average of just a goal a game, which maybe could be sufficient if they didn't concede 32 goals in 17 matches. However, last week they stunned everyone with amazing 3-0 win over Milan. They were able to take advantage of every flaw in Milan's defense while keeping a solid structure at the back, which lead to the best result of their season. Taking all factors into account, Udinese's rising form, huge 3-1 win over championship candidate Inter last week and playing on their own turf, I can't see Verona getting anything out of this match despite their great showing last week. Prediction: Udinese AC Milan vs Atalanta (Saturday) The fireman in the shape of Gattuso was brought in after Montella's sacking, but the fire just keeps on spreading, leaving no man behind. Last week’s 3-0 loss to a weak Verona side meant that Milan has hit rock bottom. Gattuso decided that it was too much, and put all of his players in the training camp which they can’t leave until Saturday’s match. Gennaro’s extreme methods are Milan’s last hope to keep the season alive and have a happy christmas at the city of the mode. Donnarumma’s problems off the pitch don’t help the situation either, and to top it all of, their best player this season, Suso, is suspended due to a red card in the embarrassing loss to Verona. Atalanta is the side you definitely don’t want to face in mid-crisis. They always look solid tactically and proving that the last season wasn’t fluke as they sit in 7th spot with the same amount of points as Milan, but better goal difference that puts them on top. Atalanta beat Sassuolo in the cup match, and they put in a great performance, but couldn’t get the 3 points off of Lazio in a thrilling 3-3 draw last weekend. Taking all into account, Gatusso could wake his team up, but you can’t ignore a well-versed Atalanta side and the most expected outcome here is the draw with at least a goal in both nets. Prediction: Draw Juventus vs Roma (Saturday) Here it is! The spectacle of the weekend in Italy will be played in Turin where the home team will look to clinch victory. The match will be played on Saturday at 20:45 CET, so make sure you don’t miss this one. Just as always, Juve is improving as the season goes on. They usually start at a slower pace, and this season isn’t any different. Right now, they look powerful, easily skinning 4 points from clashes with Napoli and Inter, they come into this one with a lot of confidence and championship mentality they always bring into matches of this magnitude. Allegri was willing to start Dybala in the cup match where he scored after giving him a bench treatment in the last two league matches. We can expect dangerous and fast-paced Argentinian to be in the starting 11 this weekend along with Miralem Pjanic, who is always extra motivated for this derby as he spent 5 years in Roma leading the midfield. As for the injuries, Buffon is out, just like Cuadrado who is suffering from groin injury and won’t be available for Saturday’s clash. Di Francesco brought some nice flavor to Roma, as they’re sitting in 4th having played a game less than rivals in front of them. They took a loss in the cup, but the good news is they can now focus on the league until February when Champions League takes place. Last week, they took hard-earned win against Cagliari at home, scoring off 94th minute penalty. Their main striker, Edin Dzeko, is facing small crisis scoring-wise, but we can expect him to pick it up as he already scored 8 goals this season. Lately, Schick has been getting more and more opportunity, as the young striker is proving to be very useful even when he’s not on the goalscoring sheet. Roma isn’t facing major injury problems, and they are ready to go out and show what they’re made of. Prediction: Juventus Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  2. Joe Hart has hit out at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola for not giving him "a fair chance" before twice sending the goalkeeper out on loan. The England international quickly fell down the pecking order following the former Barcelona head coach's arrival last summer, being sent to Torino for the duration of 2016-17. Hart, currently at West Ham, believes that he deserved more of an opportunity to rival Claudio Bravo and Ederson between the sticks at the Etihad Stadium. "That's life and that's football. We all want a fair chance at everything but that's not how it works," he told The Offside Rule. "Me waiting for that to happen and waiting for a fair shot at things, that's not the industry. I'm up for a fight, a fair fight, it's good for me and if I lose I'll shake hands with my opposition. "But I realised this wasn't going to be my opportunity for a good fight so I thought I'd look elsewhere. I'm not going to second guess why he wanted to get rid of me. The only thing that came of it is that I need to leave. Why he did it or what the intentions were I don't really care because it makes no difference to me, it makes no difference to my life. "It would be a lie to say I didn't want to spend my whole time at Man City, I would happily played for them for the rest of my career and not played abroad, but it was too good an opportunity to turn down. "With a couple of days remaining in the transfer window it was third or fourth choice at City or to go and play in Serie A with Torino in a beautiful city so I took it." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  3. West Ham have completed a season-long loan move for Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart. Since being made surplus to requirements by Pep Guardiola, Hart has had no future at the Etihad Stadium and spent the 2016/17 season at Serie A outfit Torino. The 30-year-old told the club's official website: "It's important for me to play football and to get the opportunity to come here and play is absolutely awesome. To be playing in the Premier League for a big club like West Ham, I'm really looking forward to the season. "I've always loved the club. I think you'll struggle to find anyone, apart from the direct opposing fans around London, who doesn't love the club. It's got something about it, it's got a lot history and I've always loved playing against West Ham. "We've moved into London Stadium and we've got Slaven in charge who I've spoken to and I've always enjoyed as a manager. He obviously did a good job with Croatia and he's doing a good job here, so to get the opportunity to come here, it wasn't really a hard decision." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  4. Italy international goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu has joined Torino after ending his contract with Paris Saint-Germain by mutual agreement. The 30-year-old custodian, who has won 17 caps for the Azzurri during a time where Gianluigi Buffon has monopolised the number one shirt, returns to Serie A five years after leaving Palermo for the French capital. His arrival in Turin comes after the club opted not to pursue a permanent deal for Joe Hart, who spent last season on loan from Manchester City. Sirigu told the official club website: "I am very happy to be part of this club. I chose Toro because they wanted me strongly and have a sound project in place to grow over the coming years. "The club and the president made me feel important and I thank them for that. I am honoured to be part of a club that has a unique story." Club president Urbano Cairo added: "Salvatore Sirigu is a goalkeeper of international calibre, with considerable experience in European and world competitions and an enviable list of honours. "He is 30 years old, in the prime of his career for a goalkeeper, and still has many years ahead of him as a leader. We are pleased to warmly welcome Salvatore Sirigu." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  5. Manchester United have been boosted in their pursuit of Alvaro Morata but dealt a blow in their hopes of signing Andrea Belotti. Morata, currently at Real Madrid, has been tipped with a £60m switch to Old Trafford, rising to £70m with add-ons, after growing frustrated by a lack of playing time in the Spanish capital. Meanwhile, Torino striker Belotti is thought to also be high on the Red Devils wishlist after scoring 26 Serie A goals last season. With regards to Morata, his agent Juanma Lopez is quoted by Calciomercato as saying: "They are a club of great charm, a very interesting option. "I can say there's a very important proposal [from United] and the decision rests with Real. I cannot tell [if it will be done quickly], we'll see." As for Belotti, Torino president Urbano Cairo told Italy's Radio 24: "I care about Belotti and I'm keeping hold of him. I would only sell him for €100m (£87m), but even then he can refuse. "The most important thing is what he wants, regardless of the release clause, and I think he wants to stay." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  6. Torino president Urbano Cairo has criticised on-loan goalkeeper Joe Hart, saying he “didn’t expect so many mistakes” from the Manchester City goalkeeper. The 30-year-old joined the Serie A club on loan in the summer after falling out of favour with then-new Citizens boss Pep Guardiola. Hart, however, made several high-profile errors in Granata colours which have cost his team valuable points. Cairo did also acknowledge that the England custodian, who came to the Stadio Olimpico with much fanfare, put in some good displays as well. "Hart made a few mistakes, especially when coming out for the ball,” Cairo is quoted as saying by The Mirror. “He is an important goalkeeper. We probably didn’t expect so many mistakes from an England international… but he did some good things, too.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  7. Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart says it is "more than likely" that he will return to the Premier League next season. The Citizens' long-term number one stopper was deemed surplus to requirements by Pep Guardiola upon the Spaniard's arrival at the Etihad Stadium last summer and was promptly shipped out to Serie A outfit Torino on a season-long loan. The 30-year-old still has two years remaining on his City contract but is expected to be sold on this summer, with a host of Premier League sides - including Manchester United - reportedly interested in his signature. "I feel like people think I'm keeping something close to my chest, I'm not," Hart told Sky Sports News. "The goalkeeping world is a little bit crazy, it requires movement, I've still got two years at Manchester City, and the only certainty I've got is the next three games at Torino." Asked if he will be playing in the Premier League next season, he replied: "More than likely, I'd say, but that's me with no knowledge, I've got no firm contact with anybody, but whatever I'm doing I'd love to be permanent where I go. "If it's back at Manchester City - which I don't see happening - then great, but other than that, another loan at my age I don't think is the right thing for me." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  8. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that he will not be pursuing a move for Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart. The 29-year-old's future at the Etihad Stadium looks over after he was shipped out on loan to Torino by manager Pep Guardiola last summer, and the Spaniard has given no reassurances over his stay at the club. Reports had linked Hart to an Anfield switch at the end of the season, but Klopp has reiterated his confidence in current Reds stoppers Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet. When asked about the prospect of signing the England custodian, the German told a press conference on Thursday: "We always think about the squad and goalkeepers. "Is it about Joe Hart? In this specific case we can talk about it. He's a fantastic goalkeeper. "The highest quality, but we have the highest quality goalkeepers. It's not for us nor in the future. We have these two strong keepers." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  9. Manchester City keeper Joe Hart says he is considering spending another year away from the Etihad Stadium next season if he is not in manager Pep Guardiola's plans. The England international has spent the 2016-17 campaign with Italian side Torino after failing to win over Guardiola, who instead opted to bring in Claudio Bravo from Barcelona in the summer. Hart surprised many by making a switch to Turin, rather than staying in the Premier League, but he is not ruling out remaining in Serie A next term if it means playing regular first-team football. "Of course it wouldn't be a catastrophe, in no way, shape or form," he told reporters. "It's a strong league, it's first team football. I'd like to think I'd be able to be happy anywhere. I'm not wanted at City at the moment, that's my life, that's where I'm at and I'm going to make the most of it, no matter where I am. "I've enjoyed being out there, enjoyed being part of a great football club, a great city, meeting new people, being involved in different situations. Our form has not been great lately but we are going to keep battling until the end and try and make the most out of the season." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  10. Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart believes that a return to the club after his loan spell ends at Torino may be doubt, despite the city's ongoing problems during the current Premier League season. Hart has spent the summer out on loan, after joining Serie A side Torino on a season-long loan. He had been replaced by Claudio Bravo, but the former Barcelona shot-stopper now finds himself on the beach at the Etihad Stadium after a string of disappointing performances since his arrival back in August 2016. However, the England number one is prepared to accept the situation after determining himself as 'surplus to requirements' at his parent club and believes he will require time consider his future after completing his loan spell in Italy. During a BBC Sport interview, the 29-year-old said: "I'd say I'm pretty much surplus to requirements at my parent club at the moment. I've got to be realistic." "I love that club and I've always said that as long as they wanted me, I would be there but I was always cautious when I said that because I'm aware that at the big, big clubs stuff can change quickly, as can opinions and people in charge." "Not everyone is going to like you, not everyone is going to want to play you and that's the business side of it, which I've grown into and I'm certainly not going to take personally." "I want to play football, I love to play football so if that opportunity is not going to be given there then I'm going to have to look elsewhere and may have to make somewhere else my home." Hart has made 25 appearances for Serie A outfit Torino, successfully keeping five clean sheets.
  11. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has dropped a big hint towards Joe Hart not having a future with the two-time Premier League champions. The 29-year-old left the Etihad Stadium at the start of the campaign to join Torino on loan after it was made clear he would not be first choice under the Spaniard. Claudio Bravo arrived from Barcelona to replace Hart, but he has since dropped behind Willy Caballero in the pecking order after a series of mistakes. When asked by reporters if Hart will return to the club, Guardiola said: "I'm so happy with Willy and Claudio." With regards to who will take the number one spot, the Spanish coach claimed: "I will decide about that at the end of the season. I trust a lot in both and we'll decide - not just the goalkeepers, the midfielders, wingers, strikers, full-backs - we are going to decide at the end of the season. "We'll think about [offering Caballero a new deal] but we'll make the decision at the end of the season. They have to try to keep going, to convince me every day. "There are five, six players out of contract but they know the situation. Of course there is a risk, maybe they can sign a contract for another club and we have to accept that. But we are going to decide in the last months of the season." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  12. Torino sporting director Gianluca Petrachi has revealed that the Serie A outfit have rejected a £56m bid from Arsenal for striker Andrea Belotti. The Italy international has scored 17 goals in 21 games for club and country so far this season, sparking interest from a number of clubs in Europe. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has now supposedly made an official approach for the 25-year-old, but Granata chief Petrachi insists that the player is not available to buy at any price. "We received and refused a €65m offer from Arsenal for Andrea Belotti, but it does not reflect the value of the player," he told Sky in Italy. "Anyway, he is going nowhere for now. We want to enjoy him, then we'll see what happens. "We intend to keep Belotti and president Urbano Cairo signed this important buy-out clause. I think he's worth more than they have offered." Wenger has refused to be drawn on any potential arrivals at the Emirates during the January transfer window in recent weeks. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  13. Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian has confirmed that he wants to remain at Old Trafford, despite speculation suggesting that he is set to leave the club. The 27-year-old has been restricted to just nine appearances this season and it had been reported that Juventus were considering a move for the Italian international during the January transfer window. However, Darmian has been a regular starter in the league in recent weeks, and he has insisted that he has no plans to leave a club which he describes as "one of the biggest in the world". He told ESPN: "I play for one of the biggest clubs in the world so I'm happy. I listen and read about the transfer but I don't know anything. "At the moment, nothing is true. I will continue to do my job and want to stay here. "I'm a natural right-back but playing on the left is not a big problem. I've been at left-back the last few matches and I feel comfortable in that position. "The manager has to take a decision. Sometimes I’m out of the squad - definitely at the beginning - but I worked hard to take my chance when the manager gave it to me. Now I’m playing and of course I’m happy." Darmian signed from Serie A club Torino in July 2015 for a fee of £12.7m. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  14. Joe Hart has admitted that his decision to choose Torino as his loan club after being dropped by Manchester City was down to a lack of other serious options. The England international fell down the pecking order after boss Pep Guardiola arrived at the Etihad in the summer, become the Citizens' third choice behind Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero. "To be honest, it all happened very quickly and I didn't have many options," Hart told Italian newspaper La Stampa. "If I am here, then it is because there was nowhere else for me to go. "But I am grateful that this club has given me a big chance to be able to play and do so in a serious, ambitious club. "I said yes to Torino because I had always watched Italian football on TV and I had been to Turin before. "Now I just want to enjoy this season and I'm not thinking about the future." Hart has started 10 league games for the Granata since joining at the end of August, with the Turin-based club currently seventh in the Serie A table. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  15. Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has revealed that he had little choice but to depart on loan for Torino as Pep Guardiola did not show enough faith in his ability. The England international will spend the rest of the season in the Italian top flight after dropping down the Citizens' pecking order under their new boss. Hart played 348 matches across 10 years for City and had become a regular in recent years, but Claudio Bravo was brought in on a permanent transfer from Barcelona and took over the number one jersey. Speaking to reporters after helping England to a 2-0 win over Malta on Saturday, Hart opened up on his move to Italy and declared that he is still improving his all-round game in the wake of recent criticism. "Football is a game of opinions and some people have a great opinion of me and some people probably think I'm absolutely useless," he said. "Unfortunately for me, one of the guy's opinions in charge of my club at the time wasn't as strong as it needed to be, so I needed to find someone who had an opinion of me who thought I could help their team. "I need to improve and improve all the time because I'm still learning the game and the game is changing all the time. I love trying to improve, I love that challenge. I want to keep developing until I physically can't. I'm not going to lie, I wasn't sat there with 25 options [of clubs to join]. "Torino was a really good option for me and it definitely excited me to go to play in Serie A and to play for Torino. That fit, in the situation I was in, was a good decision. It's not about making brave decisions. It was a decision I had to make and was comfortable with. I felt I was capable of doing it and where my options were, it was the best one for me in my opinion." Since joining Torino last month, Hart has kept two clean sheets - coming in successive games - in five appearances for the club. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  16. Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has confirmed his move to Serie A club Torino on a season-long loan deal. The 29-year-old lost his place as City's first choice keeper at the start of the season with new boss Pep Guardiola preferring Willy Caballero. The arrival of Claudio Bravo from Barcelona last week makes the England international third choice at the Etihad. Sunderland were prepared to pay a large slice of his wages but City have agreed to Hart's preferred option. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  17. Championship side Leeds United have signed Swedish international Pontus Jansson on a season-long loan from Torino, with a view to making the switch permanent. The 25-year-old centre-back joined Torino from Malmo in 2014, however he has only made a total of 16 appearances for the Seria A club - but has been capped eight teams for Sweden and was an unused member of their 2016 European Championship squad. Jansson is Leeds United's tenth signing of the summer, with Garry Monk finalising the defenders switch to Elland Road on Wednesday evening after assessing his side during their game against Fulham in the Championship the night before. Pontus Jansson told the clubs official website: "It feels really good to be here, I heard about three or four days ago that Leeds were interested and I spoke to the coaches." "I know Pep well from my time with Malmo in Sweden two or three years ago – he’s a good person and a good coach. I’m looking forward to working with him again. I need to play football regularly and I know that Leeds are a big club with big ambitions – they also have a lot of fans in Sweden, so I’m really happy to be here." "I know the club has a lot of tradition – they won the league in 1992 and I know about the really good team with the likes of Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell. I’m going to learn even more in the coming days!" he added. "I want to help take Leeds back to the Premier League as soon as possible. I’m an aggressive defender and I always give more than 100% for the team that I play for." The defender takes up the number 18 shirt at Leeds United.

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