Collapsing Man City transfer to saddle Guardiola with unwanted superstar; alternative transfer on friendlier terms now ‘advanced’

Man City manager Pep Guardiola and full-back Joao Cancelo

The likeliest exit route for a Manchester City superstar is closing fast, with a report detailing why the transfer is facing collapse amid an alternative deal now being ‘advanced.’

Eyebrows were raised when Man City shifted Joao Cancelo to Bayern Munich via the loan route midway through the 2022/23 season.

The versatile full-back had been a mainstay in Man City’s title-winning sides in the previous two years. The Portuguese performed to an extremely high level and was duly named in successive Premier League teams of the season.

However, given City went on to win the treble in Cancelo’s absence, it’s fair to say the defender wasn’t missed and Guardiola’s decision to sever ties was more than justified.

Cancelo returned to the Etihad last summer, though not for long when quickly turfed out on loan once more. Cancelo signed with Barcelona for the 2023/24 season in a deal that does not contain an option to buy.

The full-back has excelled in Catalonia, notching six goal contributions to go along with his solid defensive displays.

When recently asked whether Barcelona intend to sign Cancelo and fellow Portuguese loanee Joao Felix outright, Barca president Joan Laporta said: “Deco (sporting director) is working on both of them continuing.”

However, according to a fresh update from Sport, Cancelo is unlikely to be back at Barcelona next season.

Cancelo to wind up back at Man City… again

That’s not due to a lack of desire on Barca’s part. On the contrary, as Laporta stated the club do hope to re-sign Cancelo.

However, Barcelona’s well-documented financial woes make a permanent move difficult to finance and per Sport, Man City will insist on any new agreement being an outright sale.

By contrast, another loan for Atletico Madrid’s Felix is not only possible, but is already ‘advanced.’

Super agent Jorge Mendes is handling both player’s cases and he’s the one who’s let Barca know of Man City’s demand for a permanent resolution.

Cancelo is under contract at the Etihad until 2027, meaning the club run no risk of losing the player to free agency any time soon.

However, he’ll turn 30 in May and given his advancing age, his transfer value is only going to decrease from here on out.

As such, the onus is on City to extract maximum value while they still can and find a permanent buyer as quickly as possible. Felix, meanwhile, is only 24 and as such, Atletico are more receptive to playing the long game.

Sport conclude only a second loan agreement for Felix will be a worthwhile endeavour for Barca given they’ll need to pay up for Cancelo.

As such, Guardiola may soon have a player he’s twice loaned out back in his squad next season.

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