Guardiola admission on Barcelona raid hints Man City could lose star attacker

Date published: Tuesday 9th November 2021 12:44 - Steve Pearson

Raheem Serling Man City

Pep Guardiola has hinted it could be difficult to retain one of his Man City forwards in January after acknowledging the lure of a transfer to Barcelona is difficult to turn down.

Over the past few weeks, speculation has continued to swirl regarding the future of Raheem Sterling. The lively forward, 26, was once an undroppable component of Guardiola’s fearsome forward lines. However, the Englishman has had to take a back seat so far this season.

Sterling has accrued just three league starts in the current campaign. In the commanding 2-0 victory over Manchester United on Saturday, Sterling was left kicking his heels as an unused substitute.

The arrival of Jack Grealish, combined with the continued rise of Phil Foden has given Guardiola fresh options in Sterling’s customary left wing position.

As such, Sterling recently suggested he would be open to an exit when speaking to the Guardian in October. That drew the ire of Guardiola, who later claimed  Sterling should “make a phonecall” and seek a move away if he is unhappy with how he manages his playing personnel.

A surprise move to cash-strapped Barcelona has been touted. Despite their dreadful financial state, the club have been linked with sanctioning a January loan deal with a view to a permanent acquisition down the line.

Adding further fuel to that fire is the club’s desperate need for attacking reinforcements. Martin Braithwaite is sidelined with a serious knee injury. Furthermore, Sergio Aguero will miss a minimum of three months after being diagnosed with a heart problem.

Now, speaking at a charity event organised by Juan Carlos Unzué at a Spanish golf resort, Guardiola has given his take on Sterling’s future.

In doing so, he acknowledged the idea of joining Barcelona “seduces” many players. He also refused to put the kibosh on his forward’s exit rumours.

“I have no idea, not that I know and obviously I wouldn’t tell you this either,” said the Spaniard (via Sport Witness).

“We have too much work to do. But if Barcelona are interested in any of our players, I am convinced that… Barcelona continues to be an attractive club, more than attractive.

Pep Guardiola Man City

“The city, the club, the history and this for the coaches, for the players, always seduces a lot.

“If Barcelona are interested in our player, they will start the machinery, it is transatlantic. Barcelona, ​​in the good and the bad, can do what they want.”


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Juventus pair Federico Bernadeschi and Matthijs De Ligt celebrating with their fans 2021

Meanwhile, Manchester City are prepared to sell a £41m signing in order to help fund a huge bid for Matthijs De Ligt, though they could face stiff competition from Chelsea, per a report.

The 22-year-old has drawn persistent links with Chelsea in recent weeks. He was named as a potential Thiago Silva successor in late-October.

Additionally, the continued uncertainty surrounding the contract status’ of Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen could give Thomas Tuchel an immediate need to splash the cash. Each of those three Blues defenders are in the final years of their contracts.

However, according to SportsMole (citing Italian outlet Calciomercato), De Ligt has another English admirer.

They claim Man City are in the mix, and could axe Nathan Ake in order to help fund the move. In their words, ‘Pep Guardiola is understood to be considering the departure of Nathan Ake next summer.’

That would free up both funds and squad space for De Ligt, who Guardiola ‘admires’. 

De Ligt reportedly holds a  €150m (£128.4m) release clause within his contract that activates next summer. 

Whether either City or Chelsea would be willing to trigger that clause is unclear. What would appear a more realistic prospect would be a bidding war at lower stakes.

READ MORE: ‘My club’ – Man City star open to transfer as he names preferred destination

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