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Premier League • England

Barcelona to incur wrath of Guardiola after flying director to Manchester for transfer talks

Pep Guardiola Man City November 2021

Barcelona are set to infuriate Manchester City after reportedly flying director Mateu Alemany to Manchester to test the water over a deal for Raheem Sterling.

Alemany has flown to Manchester to hold talks with City ahead of an ambitious January transfer. Sterling, who has been praised by Pep Guardiola after returning to form against PSG in midweek, has been benched for much of the season. The England man has previously admitted he would be open to moving for more game time and said it was his “dream” to play abroad.

A potential switch to Barcelona would kill two birds with one stone. And Barca are very keen on a deal, if the latest from Radio Barcelona are to be believed.

Talk of the LaLiga’s side interest has been going on for months, but Barca have upped the ante after the arrival of Xavi.

Cited by Mundo Deportivo, the broadcaster insist that say Barca’s  “top executive” has flown to Manchester to work on a January loan deal.

Alemany has been briefed to “see what the chances are” of Barca getting Sterling on a temporary deal in the next window.

The report, via Sport Witness, acknowledges that a deal is “complicated” due to their financial situation.

What’s more Guardiola will not sanction a move unless City land a replacement – and in January that will prove difficult.

Sterling has started just four Premier League games this season. But after starting and scoring against Everton, the 26-year-old did the same against PSG and Guardiola was impressed.

Man City forward Raheem Sterling being consoled by Pep Guardiola 2021

Guardiola told a press conference: “I’m so glad for him, he’s helped us for sure. He will fight to be better and better.

“It is important for strikers and wingers to score and make assists. He was decisive in what we’ve done in recent years.

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“Scoring goals can give confidence for these type of guys. But he has to do better, be aggressive, go one against one, arrive in the final third. This is the first step for him to come back.”

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Guardiola was clearly irked by the question surrounding Sterling’s future last week. The Spanish boss was unwilling to go into any details about the situation.

Guardiola frustrated at Sterling situation

“Don’t ask me from now on until the transfer window is open because I’m not going to answer them,” Guardiola said.

“Mine and Raheem’s focus is on the games. I’m not going to answer any questions about what’s going to happen in the future because I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The Telegraph claim City will reject all offers for the player. And are concentrating on extending Sterling’s contract.

The England man is out of contract in 2023, but shelved talks over a new deal. Now though City are eager to get talks back on the agenda.

Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne remains unavailable for Sunday’s Premier League clash with West Ham.

The Belgium international, who has been vaccinated, tested positive for coronavirus last week. He remains in isolation.

Guardiola said: “He’s still tired, no taste – the symptoms of Covid. Now he’s done seven or eight days’ isolation. A few more days and we will give him a PCR test and if it’s negative then he will be back.”

READ MORE: Newcastle boss Eddie Howe wants three-time Premier League winner in January