Pep Guardiola has explained why he told Ferran Torres to leave Manchester City as they await confirmation of his transfer to Barcelona – while also responding to questions of how they might replace him.
It was revealed on Wednesday that Man City have reached an agreement to sell Torres to Barcelona. The forward has been the La Liga side’s top target for a while. There were difficulties compromising over a fee, but a breakthrough has been found.
Barca will pay €55m up front to take Torres back to La Liga. They could give City a further €10m in add-ons for the former Valencia forward.
No announcement has yet arrived from either club, but City manager Guardiola has been able to confirm the deal is close.
Asked if Torres is definitely departing and whether a replacement would be signed, Guardiola told a press conference: “Last question no, we won’t bring in a striker in January.
“It’s not done officially, I know they are negotiating, it’s close, that’s all. When the club announces it’s done.”
Torres has made 43 appearances across his City career and it appears he may have already played his last game for the club. He is currently injured, so may not get the chance to add to his tally before he returns to Spain.
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But asked if he was disappointed by Torres’ desire to leave, Guardiola said: “Absolutely not. I would be happy.
“I said many times, when he came to me, if you are not happy you have to leave. We are not a club like other teams when you want to leave and the CEO and president say no.
“Another issue is the agreement with the clubs, and the players, it’s not my business. If the players want to leave they have to have an agreement with the club. If the club isn’t acceptable the offer, you have to stay.
“That’s why players have marvellous agents, they negotiate through the media, through underneath or using the weapons they have to do the deals. They have to do it.
“It’s not the case for Ferran. For everyone, if you want to leave because you’re not happy here, you believe you’ll be happy in another place, you have to go. Career is short; one day it’s over.
“If he wants to leave, absolutely no disappointment. It’s his desire. I’m happy for him.”
Guardiola understands Torres exit decision
With Guardiola confirming City would not be in the market for a replacement for Torres, there may be more opportunities down the line for academy prospect Cole Palmer.
Palmer has been making progress recently, but Guardiola denied his emergence was a reason for sanctioning Torres’ sale.
He replied: “It’s not. I’m thinking what happens with Cole Palmer wouldn’t be here if Ferran didn’t ask to leave or not, it would be the same.
“If Ferran thinks he had more chance to play and maybe wanted to stay longer? I don’t know. Always I have the feeling if Barcelona and Real Madrid knock on the door for any player it’s difficult to say no. They are the strongest teams in the world.
“He’s from Spain, Barcelona want him, I understand he wants to leave. When he knocked on my door said he wants to leave, I said leave. I called Txiki, his smart agent makes an agreement.
“At the right moment, Txiki didn’t text me, I hear the deal is close. My club didn’t tell me officially about it’s already done and he’s leaving. It’s the principle.
“I cannot push the players or convince the player if his mind is elsewhere. No sense. Other clubs say it doesn’t matter, I’m not agreeing. Every club has to decide how to deal with that, it’s my personal opinion.”
Guardiola was speaking ahead of City’s clash with Leicester at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day.