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Rumour reel: Pep wants Barcelona midfielder

City after Sergio Busquets

Watford made headlines yesterday when announcing the arrival of Andre Gray, bought from Premier League rivals Burnley for £18m, a record fee for The Hornets. With such a hefty pricetag comes an increased level of expectation, but the 26-year-old will be confident of proving his worth.

Gray, who had entered the final year of his contract at Burnley, and already knocked back a renewal, signed a five-year deal at Vicarage Road. He rattled in nine goals last season, and followers of the London club will be looking for more of the same they aim to avoid Premier League relegation. Here’s Thursday’s rumour reel…..

Man City to bid for Barca ace

Manchester City are pre-season favourites with Coral to win the Premier League, and they’ve not been shy in flexing their muscles during the transfer window either, throwing cash around in an attempt to appease manager Pep Guardiola and gift him the team of his dreams, or as close to it as possible.

Some of European football’s biggest names will play in the light blue of City this year, and they’ve not shut up shop for the summer either.

The latest coming out of the Etihad is that they have made enquiries about signing Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets. The 29-year-old Spanish ace is a man Guardiola can rely upon, and he certainly needs that in the middle of the park. It’s bad timing though, with the La Liga giants still hurting over the Neymar ordeal.

Conte wants English Rose

We spoke again yesterday about Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s desire to bring more English players to the club, with Gary Cahill the only homegrown star making a regular appearance in the champion’s starting line-up.

With John Terry now at Aston Villa, British players are very much a minority at Stamford Bride. Cue a list of Englishmen linked to Chelsea in the papers.

We’ve already had Danny Drinkwater and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and the latest is Tottenham defender Danny Rose. The 27-year-old has also been attracting the attention of Jose Mourinho at Man Utd, telling reporters he’s flattered by it all.

It’ll not be easy however, Spurs don’t seem keen on letting him go and have already knocked back a move Man City made earlier this summer.

Celtic boss giving nothing away

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has made re-signing Patrick Roberts his number one priority before the summer transfer window closes at the end of this month, with the Glasgow club looking to win another Scottish Premier League title.

The 20-year-old English winger, currently owned by Manchester City, spent last season at Parkhead on loan, and impressed everyone there so much they’d simply love to have him back, ideally on a contract, although they’d accept another loan.

It’s highly unlikely City want him for themselves, given the abundance of proven talent in their ranks this season, but The Hoops are not the only club interested, and he could be sold off to the highest bidder.

Assistant Chris Davies said last season’s treble winners are in constant dialogue with the English club, but Rodgers was keeping his cards close to his chest, saying Roberts is a big talent, but any discussions will remain private.

Daily updates on the transfer window as it gets serious