Manchester City are confident they will beat Brighton & Hove Albion and Juventus to the signing of Boca Juniors star Valentin Barco.
Barco is a highly-rated Argentina U20 international who can play as a left-back or a left winger. The 19-year-old, considered to be the best young left-back in Argentina, has been with Argentine giants Boca Juniors since joining their youth setup in 2014.
Man City have made several successful signings of Argentinian players in their recent history. Retired stars Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta were all integral players for City, while forward Julian Alvarez is becoming an increasingly important member of Pep Guardiola’s current side.
World Cup winner Alvarez, who signed from River Plate in January 2022, has started all four Premier League matches for the treble winners this season, scoring twice.
As reported by the Daily Star, Barco could be set to join Alvarez at City for a modest fee, with the deal likely to be completed in the January transfer window.
The 19-year-old has an £8m release clause in his contract, with the Sky Blues willing to pay the fee up front. Brighton and Serie A giants Juventus are also interested in signing the left-sided player, but a move to the three-time defending Premier League champions appears most likely.
Brighton have had great success with unearthing and signing young South American gems in recent years. Argentina’s Alexis Mac Allister and Ecuador’s Moises Caicedo both became key players for the Seagulls before they were sold to Liverpool and Chelsea respectively this summer for a combined total of £150m, which could rise with add-ons.
Ecuadorian left-back Pervis Estupinan is an important member of Brighton’s current side, while their squad also features promising 19-year-old Paraguayan forward Julio Enciso and 18-year-old Argentine midfielder Facundo Buonanotte.
Roberto De Zerbi’s team will face Guardiola’s City, who are yet to drop a point in the Premier League this season, at the Etihad in October.
City’s South American-based Director of Football driving Barco move
Joan Patsy, Man City’s South American-based director of football, is believed to be the man pushing to make the deal to sign Barco happen. Patsy was crucial in the signings of Alvarez and Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, who has since joined Arsenal.
City signed left-footed centre-back Josko Gvardiol, who can play as a left-back, from RB Leipzig in the summer transfer window. Centre-back Nathan Ake and attacking full-back Sergio Gomez are among City’s other current options in Barco’s primary position.
Barco has made 21 senior appearances for Boca Juniors since being promoted to their first team in 2021.