Pep Guardiola has responded to talk that Manchester City are chasing a deal to sign Sergi Roberto from Barcelona this summer.
A report from Sport reported last month stated that Barca are keen on bringing City centre-back Aymeric Laporte to the Nou Camp. Included in that deal was Roberto heading in the opposite direction, with the Catalan giants keen to offload the versatile star.
Mundo Deportivo has now backed that report up by saying that the 29-year-old is among the players Barcelona are willing to sell.
For his part, Guardiola has not stated whether City hold an interest in the player. And speaking to TV3 about the full-back, who can also play in midfield, the Etihad chief did not give much away.
He said: “I will not answer these things. Sergi is a Barca player. All the Barca players and players in other great teams in the world are good. But Sergi is a Barca player and I will not respond to the question on television.”
Roberto made nine LaLiga starts and 15 appearances in total last season, scoring once and adding two assists. He also featured three times in the Champions League for Ronald Koeman’s men.
His versatility makes him an attractive option for Guardiola. However, having watched Oleksandr Zinchenko impress at the Euros in a midfield role, the City boss may decide to experiment with the Ukrainian instead and use the bulk of his transfer funds on a new central striker.
Pep considers Kane alternative
Meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann has become the “number one goal” for Manchester City if they cannot sign Harry Kane from Tottenham, according to reports.
Kane has become a top target for Man City after expressing an interest in leaving Tottenham. He has spent all his career with Spurs, apart from a few loan spells away in his younger days. In that time, he has become one of the best strikers in the world. But he does not have the trophies to reflect his ability.
Thus, after Tottenham came seventh last season, the England captain is considering his future. He wants to stay in England and City would be among the most likely to quench his thirst for trophies.
However, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy does not want to let him go for cheap – especially to an English rival. He has reportedly told new coach Nuno Espirito Santo to plan for next season as if Kane will be staying, even if a price tag of around £150m has been mooted.
So far, City have only reached £100m with their offer. Therefore, they may have to consider alternatives in their efforts to replace Sergio Aguero.
Aguero exit leaves huge void
Their all-time top scorer will leave a huge void up front, even if he did not play much last season. City sometimes used a system with a false nine in his absence, but finding a top-class forward could make the difference in their efforts to go one better in the Champions League.
According to Mundo Deportivo, after Aguero’s move to Barcelona, City could well look to sign someone from the La Liga giants. France attacker Griezmann recently emerged as a possible target and they have continued those links.
The report reminds that Pep Guardiola has admired Griezmann for a long time. Furthermore, given Barcelona’s financial situation, they may be more likely to accept a bid than Tottenham would be for Kane.