Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Top source confirms audacious Man City approach for Barcelona star, but ‘untouchable’ stance must be destroyed

Gavi and Alejandro Balde

Gavi celebrates with Alejandro Balde after Spain goal

Manchester City contacted Barcelona to discover if exciting young star Alejandro Balde was available for transfer in the recent summer window, Fabrizio Romano has confirmed.

Balde is a 19-year-old Barca academy graduate who mainly operates as a left-back but can also play as a right-back if needed. He made his senior debut for the club in September 2021, though he had to wait until last season before he could enjoy an extended run in the team.

Blaugrana boss Xavi placed his trust in the teenager, handing him 33 appearances in La Liga and a further 11 outings across Barca’s other competitions.

Last term, Balde was facing competition from Jordi Alba for a starting spot. But now that the veteran full-back has departed – linking up with Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets at Inter Miami – Balde has well and truly established himself as Xavi’s first-choice left-back.

Balde has started three of Barca’s four league games so far this season, but things could have been far different for him. On September 4, Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo revealed City had attempted to snare Barca trio Balde, Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi in the summer.

Providing an update on Twitter, Romano has now confirmed that City were on the hunt for Balde. He reveals that City ‘asked’ about Balde’s situation earlier this year, to find out whether the Spain international might be available for transfer.

However, City boss Pep Guardiola was left frustrated as his side never managed to enter ‘concrete negotiations’ for the swoop. This is because Barca consider Balde ‘untouchable’, with Xavi hoping to rely on him for years to come.

Amid the transfer rumours, Barca have reached an agreement to tie down Balde to a new long-term contract. While his current deal is due to expire in June 2024, the fresh terms will last until June 2028.

Of course, a new contract does not necessarily mean City will be unable to capture Balde. After all, Barca are still in a delicate financial situation and if City put up enough money they will simply have to sell.

But it is clear that if City want to land Balde, they will have to pay a premium price. And this will likely result in the reigning Prem champions focusing on other transfer targets for January.