Marc Cucurella has reportedly handed in a transfer request to Brighton in an effort to push through a move to Manchester City.
Cucurella is Man City’s next big target in a summer that has already seen them sign Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips and Stefan Ortega, while welcoming January addition Julian Alvarez into their squad after his time developing on loan.
Indeed, for all the big arrivals, the Premier League champions have balanced the books by offloading several of their own players. For example, Oleksandr Zinchenko followed Gabriel Jesus to Arsenal recently.
By losing Zinchenko, Man City now have one option less at left-back. It is a position they have already been getting creative with, mainly using right-footed Joao Cancelo there last season.
Cucurella enjoyed a productive debut season with Brighton after joining from Getafe last summer. Hence, City are looking at him as a natural option to compete with Cancelo.
However, Brighton have been holding out for a high transfer fee if they are to sell Cucurella. Having already lost another prize asset, midfielder Yves Bissouma, to a top-six club in Tottenham Hotspur, they would be reluctant to deprive themselves of another key man.
With that in mind, reports have suggested Brighton want £50m if they are to consider selling Cucurella this summer. As things stand, City have only been offering £30m and will not be held to ransom.
Indeed, Pep Guardiola’s side have been linked with alternative targets who may be cheaper in case they need to resort to a backup plan.
But it appears Cucurella has not lost hope of making the move to the Etihad Stadium. The Daily Mail are now reporting that he has handed in a transfer request to push through his exit from Brighton.
Whether it will change their stance remains to be seen. But knowing that Cucurella is considering his future elsewhere may give them something to think about.
Man City could up Marc Cucurella bid
Furthermore, the Mail are also indicating that City could try to tempt Brighton into a compromise by bidding £40m.
Other sources such as Sky Sports are confirming Cucurella’s transfer request. Despite being under contract at the Amex Stadium for another four years, the Spaniard seems to be intent on leaving for City.
It is understandable why he may want to make such a move. City have Champions League football on offer and will regularly be competing for trophies.
Although Brighton made enough progress to finish in the top half of the Premier League last season, they are not as well placed to challenge for honours.
At the age of 24, Cucurella could be ready for the chance among the elite that he never got at Barcelona after coming through their academy. It may be a fellow Catalan in the shape of Pep Guardiola who can give him that chance with City.
Pep Guardiola responds to rumours
However, Guardiola has given little away when asked about Marc Cucurella at his latest press conference. The manager maintains Cancelo, Josh Wilson-Esbrand and Nathan Ake can cover on the left-hand side of defence if they miss out.
“He’s a Brighton player. I cannot say anything else,” said Guardiola. “If it’s possible [to strengthen we will] but if not, we stay with the players we have.
“Joao can play there; Josh can play there; Nathan can play there. I never complain about the squad I have since the first season. It is always for the benefit of the club, not for me, and I support the club.”
Guardiola was speaking ahead of the Community Shield match against Liverpool at the weekend. They will not be able to sign Cucurella in time for that game. But the champions still have a month to bring him in before the transfer window closes.