Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling reportedly had a meeting with Barcelona chief Mateu Alemany, but the Blaugrana opted to sign Ferran Torres instead.
Spain forward Torres joined Barcelona at the start of the January transfer window after they agreed to pay City £46.3million for his services. The 21-year-old was willing to remain at the Etihad but also had dreams of playing for one of his country’s biggest clubs.
On the transfer, City Director of Football Txiki Begiristain said: “Ferran should be proud of what he has achieved here at Manchester City.
“Last season was his first time in a new country, but he adapted well. He always gave 100%, worked hard for the team and scored goals which helped us win trophies.
“We wish him all the best at Barcelona and for the rest of his career.”
Torres’ former team-mate Sterling had been in line for a Barcelona switch himself after losing his place in Pep Guardiola’s starting eleven early in the season.
Sterling even admitted he ‘would be open’ to moving abroad, should the opportunity arise.
Raheem Sterling meeting revealed
The Daily Mail, who cite Spanish outlet Sport, reveal Barca’s interest in the 27-year-old. They claim Sterling met with Alemany to discuss a potential move to the Nou Camp.
The director reported back to manager Xavi that Sterling was ‘indisputably talented’. However, he also claimed the Englishman ‘would be a martian’ as he would not fit in with the Barca squad.
As a result, the Spanish giants contacted City over Torres’ availability instead. He was seen as an ideal fit given his relationship with Spain team-mates Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Pedri.
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Sterling has since worked his way back into Guardiola’s plans and is now an important part of the team. His record for the campaign stands at nine goals in 27 appearances.
The wide man is also set to re-open contract discussions with the Citizens, which had been put on hold while he was out of the picture. Sterling’s current terms run until June 2023.
City star receives UCL ban
Meanwhile, City defender Kyle Walker has been given a three-match Champions League ban.
City reached the knockout stage as group winners, ending one point ahead of Paris Saint-Germain. Walker started five of the Citizens six matches but was sent off against RB Leipzig on December 7.
The England defender’s dismissal came just eight minutes before the end of the 2-1 defeat at Red Bull Arena. Guardiola will now be shorn of the full-back for both legs of City’s last-16 tie with Sporting.
The Premier League champions travel to Portugal on February 15 for the first leg before hosting Ruben Amorim’s side on March 9.
And he will also have to sit out the first leg of the quarter-finals if the Etihad outfit progress.
City have opted not to appeal the decision. His foul was termed an ‘assault’ on the UEFA charge sheet, per Sportstar.