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Arsenal Join The Race For Brazilian Striker As Mourinho Aims A Dig At Pep Guardiola

Written By Onyeka Daniel

The rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola is a well publicized one as the pair originally worked together at Barcelona on friendly terms, the rivalry grew as both became two of the standout managers of their generation.

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But Mourinho and Guardiola have not locked horns in the dugout for nearly three years – with the most recent meeting coming back in February 2021, when City thrashed Spurs 3-0 in the Premier League. Recently, the Special one has re-opened old wounds by criticising the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager over his treatment of England international Kalvin Phillips.


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The Roma boss has made a public sly dig at his old rival, who he went head-to-head with in El Clasico from 2010 to 2013, and again on either side of the Manchester divide between 2016 and 2019. Mourinho has taken issue with Guardiola’s management of former Leeds star Philips, with the midfielder making just two Premier League starts since joining City in 2022.

Kalvin Phillips has struggled for game time since joining Manchester City. “Look, not that I’m jealous, but Manchester City, for example, paid €80 million for Phillips,” Mourinho told beIN Sports. “And now, in January, Pep said he will send him away and buy another (midfielder)

“We are in a different reality. I would like one, two, three or four players, and [Roma sporting director] Tiago Pinto and the owners would like them too. We all want to try to improve the team to be stronger for the second half of the season. But we have difficulties in trying to do that.” He further added.

City’s financial muscle has often been used as a caveat against Guardiola, whenever suggestions are made that he might be the best manager in the history of the game.

Although Phillips has been linked with a move away from Manchester in January, with Juventus one of the club said to be interested in his signature, he made the most of a rare start in Wednesday night’s Champions League dead rubber against Red Star, scoring his first goal for the club.

Meanwhile…

Arsenal have reportedly joined Roma in the race for Santos striker Marcos Leonardo. The Giallorossi are long-time admirers of the 20-year-old striker who was heavily linked with a move to the Stadio Olimpico last summer before the Giallorossi signed Romelu Lukaku.

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Rumours about the striker’s future continue to grow now that his club Santos have been relegated to the second division in Brazil. According to reports, however, Arsenal are among the main rivals of the Giallorossi in the race for the Brazilian striker.

Another report even claims that the Gunners are ready to submit an offer for the 20-year-old. Scorer of 13 goals in 31 Brazilian Serie A games this season, Marcos Leonardo’s contract with Santos expires in December 2026, but he’s expected to leave for a fee below €15m now that his club have been relegated. The 20-year-old striker has netted 21 times in 49 games across all competitions this term.

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