Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo appears to be on his way to Manchester City after the Catalan club revealed a “beginning of an agreement”.
City manager Pep Guardiola, who coached Barcelona from 2008-2012, has reportedly been on the lookout for a new goalkeeper, having started the first two Premier League games of his reign with Willy Caballero between the posts ahead of England international Joe Hart.
Barca’s other goalkeeper, Marc-Andre ter-Stegen, has also been linked with a switch to the Etihad Stadium.
Chile international Bravo, 33, was twice beaten by Real Betis in the Catalan club’s 6-2 LaLiga victory at the Nou Camp on Saturday evening, and, speaking afterwards, technical secretary Robert Fernandez – quoted on Barcelona’s official Twitter account – said: “We have the beginning of an agreement with Manchester City for Claudio Bravo.
“We are awaiting events this week. When Claudio leaves, we hope to have a new keeper.”
Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick as Barca convincingly began their title defence and pursuit of a third successive title. Lionel Messi added two further goals, while Arda Turan scored once as Betis were outclassed.
The result means coach Luis Enrique can likely expect his team to remain top of LaLiga at the end of the opening weekend of the season.
He praised his goalscorers’ latest impressive contribution – Barca recently won the Spanish Supercopa over two legs against Sevilla – before indicating they could yet add a further signing to their squad.
Samuel Umtiti and Denis Suarez were given their league debuts from the start, while fellow summer recruit Lucas Digne came off the bench.
“The players were very motivated, and very active both in attack and defence,” said Enrique, quoted on www.fcbarcelona.com. “We were brave and very effective. A complete game.
“Arda has a lot of quality and can perform in the two positions, both as an inside midfielder and as a forward. And, on top of that, he scores goals. He is more integrated and happy.
“Sergi Roberto, down the same flank as always, (was) very attentive in the defensive aspect of his game, and showed good anticipation. In attack, he was very good, looking for space and creating chances.
“Being in my third year, there are some things that you just cannot explain to the veterans. And the new players have arrived with a lot of enthusiasm.
“Throughout the season, the level of demand will be at the maximum. We must all be 100 per cent.
“Messi was at an extraordinary level, as always. Luis Suarez also, both in attack and defence.
“Any player that can improve the squad, which is not easy, the club will be open to the possibility of bringing him in.”