Manchester City 'verbally agree' deal with Barcelona for superstar: report

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Nottingham Forest at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on September 23, 2023.
(Image credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Manchester City have verbally agreed a transfer move with Barcelona, according to reports in Spain.

The two clubs have conducted a good deal of business with each other over the past few years, with Pep Guardiola's Treble-winning captain, Ilkay Gundogan, being the most significant recent example. The German moved to Catalonia on a free transfer at the expiry of his Manchester City contract. 

But Barcelona have bought the likes of Eric Garcia and Ferran Torres in recent times, too, with the tables beginning to turn – as current boss Xavi looks to emulate mentor Guardiola with a team capable of replicating City's dominant positional play. 

Ferran Torres of FC Barcelona reacts during the LaLiga EA Sports match between FC Barcelona and Celta Vigo at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on September 23, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.

Ferran Torres is one of a few modern stars to take the path from City to Barcelona (Image credit: Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Now, El Chiringuito TV in Spain via TeamTALK says that Barça have agreed a €35 million move for Joao Cancelo, currently on loan at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys. 

The Portuguese has raced out of the blocks at Barcelona, netting two goals in his first five appearances from a right-back berth that he's more familiar with from spells at Juventus, Inter Milan and Valencia – after featuring as an inverted left-back for much of his time at the Etihad Stadium. 

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Cancelo fell out with Guardiola last season and was shockingly sent on loan to Bayern Munich in January during the Citizens' Treble tilt. The 29-year-old returned to Manchester that term with the Bavarians, however, when the two giants drew each other in the Champions League quarter-finals. Cancelo was roundly booed by City fans upon his Etihad return.

A fee of around £30m would mean that City will have lost roughly 50% of what they paid Juventus when they purchased Cancelo back in 2019 – making him the most expensive right-back of all time, in a record which was later surpassed by Achraf Hakimi. City's sale of Brazilian defender Danilo to Juve in the opposite direction that summer, however, recouped around €37m. 

Joao Cancelo of Bayern Munich controls the ball while warming up prior to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg match between Manchester City and FC Bayern München at Etihad Stadium on April 11, 2023 in Manchester, England.

Joao Cancelo's final appearance at the Etihad Stadium was for Bayern Munich on loan from Manchester City (Image credit: James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)

If reports are to be believed, Barcelona's good relationship with Manchester City has probably helped to lower the fee for Cancelo. The La Liga champions are still in financial peril and also have Cancelo's international team-mate Joao Felix on loan, with a view to striking a permanent deal with his parent club Atletico Madrid next summer.

Cancelo is valued at €50m by Transfermarkt

More Manchester City stories

Rodri recently called for action to be taken to stop European football losing more stars to Saudi Arabia.

City kicked off their Champions League defence with a win this week, but manager Pep Guardiola believes last season's treble winners are 'in trouble'.

Meanwhile, midfielder Bernardo Silva could leave City for a cut-price £50 million due to a special release clause.

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