The pull of working with Pep Guardiola has opened the door to a significant swap deal between Man City and Barcelona, per a report.
Man City cruised to their third league title in four years under Guardiola once their sluggish start was overcome. The EFL Cup was also added to their trophy cabinet, though there was disappointment in Europe once again. Nevertheless, City will again enter next season as favourites in every competition they enter.
To ensure their dominance continues, Guardiola has regularly freshened up his squad during his time in Manchester.
Even Legendary figures like striker Sergio Aguero have been moved on. Though under Guardiola’s unique system, a traditional striker was rarely deemed necessary.
It is at the other end of the pitch that Guardiola has made the biggest impact in the market. The acquisition of PFA Player of the Year Ruben Dias was credited with transforming their once fragile backline.
A report last week revealed Dias could soon have a new face flanking him at right-back. Versatile Barcelona’s veteran Sergi Roberto was linked, with a Spanish report claiming dialogue had already been opened.
Barcelona are struggling financially amid the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, a Roberto sale would free up funds for much needed investment elsewhere.
At the same time, a separate report named Barcelona as a potential landing spot for disgruntled centre-back, Aymeric Laporte. However, with their cashflow issues, bringing the centre-back to the Nou Camp was a rather ambitious notion.
Now, Spanish publication Sport have outlined a way in which both the aforementioned moves could happen.
They reveal (via Goal) that Roberto, 29, could be offered as a makeweight in any Laporte deal.
That would significantly lower the sum Barcelona are required to pay. Adding further fuel to the fire, Roberto is said to be only willing to leave Barcelona if ‘to team up with his former Barca boss Pep Guardiola.’
Roberto has just 12 months remaining on his current deal. Using him as a makeweight this summer would avert the risk of losing him for free in a year’s time.
Laporte meanwhile, fell behind John Stones in the central defensive ranks. The French-born centre-half now plays his international football for Spain. As such, playing in this summer’s European Championship will further raise his profile and put him in the shop window in his adopted homeland.
Man City favourites for opposite flank full-back
Meanwhile, Manchester City have set aside €60m in funds for Sporting CP left-back Nuno Mendes this summer, according to reports in Portugal.
Mendes is one of the hottest prospects on the market, having enjoyed a rapid rise since stepping into senior football last summer. He has already established himself as first choice at Sporting despite only being 18 years old.
Mendes has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League, where Chelsea or Manchester United could try to sign him.
But Manchester City are also in the race and it now seems they are the most likely to make a bid.
According to A Bola, City are willing to spend up to €60m on Mendes and they may have the advantage in the race for his signature. That’s because City and Sporting have already established contacts from previous transfer dealings.