Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Man City eye full-back signing as Barcelona pursue permanent Joao Cancelo deal

Man City defenders Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias

Man City defenders Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias

Barcelona are keen to retain Joao Cancelo beyond his loan spell and Manchester City have been keeping an eye on potential replacements for the versatile full-back, with Boca Juniors’ Valentin Barco one potential target.

Cancelo had begun to fall out of favour at the Etihad last season and spent the second half of the 2022-23 campaign on loan with Bayern Munich before returning to Manchester in the summer.  Pep Guardiola already has natural right-backs Kyle Walker and Rico Lewis as well as John Stones, when fit, who can play in a more inverted full-back role when required. The manager can also rely on Josko Gvardiol, Nathan Ake and Sergio Gomez at left-back.

Cancelo made 17 Premier League appearances for City before heading out on loan to Bayern last year and netted two goals and an assist in those outings, an achievement it has taken him half of that time to achieve in Spain. So it comes as no surprise that Barca are keen on a permanent deal for the defender, who fills an important gap Xavi felt he had in his squad.

His current contract at the Etihad runs until 2027 and City are believed to be asking for £26million to part ways with the defender. As such, Barca are aware that getting a deal done this summer will be difficult and the club’s negotiations with City sporting director Txiki Begiristain are shaping up to be very complicated.

Even if Barca can get a permanent deal done for Cancelo this summer, he may not be the only right-back arriving at the Nou Camp.

The La Liga side want to bring another, younger right-back through the door next summer to compete with Cancelo who has been a regular starter so far this season. With potentially two new arrivals on the right side of defence next year, the expectation is that current captain Sergi Roberto will depart at the end of the current campaign.

Barca have not yet identified potential targets for the other right-back vacancy that could appear next season.

Barca are also weighing up reinforcements on the opposite side of defence due to Marcos Alonso’s potential exit, although youngster Alex Valle could solve that problem if he is promoted to the first team next season following his loan spell at Levante.

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Man City eye up Cancelo successor

Back in August, it was reported that City were willing to activate the release clause of Boca Juniors left-back Barco, which would have cost around £10m. Fellow Premier League side Brighton have also been keeping an eye on the youngster.

The 19-year-old’s current contract with Boca Juniors runs until December 2024 and, as such, is close to entering the final 12 months of his deal which could make an exit in January, or even next summer, more feasible.

Barco has already made 27 appearances for the Boca Juniors first team, with one goal and three assists coming his way so far. He formally moved up to the senior squad this summer but has clearly already been impressing Boca Juniors staff as well as scouts in Europe.

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