Barcelona have agreed a cut-price £24.3million fee with Manchester City to buy Joao Cancelo.
The Portuguese defender, 29, is currently on loan at the Nou Camp until the end of the season after the Spanish champions were unable to raise the necessary funds to secure him permanently in the summer.
City wanted closer to £55m back the for Cancelo, who had spent the second half of last season on loan with German giants Bayern Munich. That spell in the Bundesliga failed to persuade new Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel he was worth that sort of outlay.
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But with his future at Treble holders City already dead – following a major breakdown in his relationship with manager Pep Guardiola – Cancelo was offered the chance to revive his stalling career at Barcelona instead.
And even though the Spanish club’s well-publicised financial problems meant it could be only a loan move initially, negotiations between the parties have continued into the campaign. Those talks have now concluded successfully – with the Catalans set to pay less than half City’s original asking price for Cancelo next June.
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The news comes after his impressive start to life in Spain – with two goals in his first six league games. Of course, the long-term transfer is still dependant on Barcelona, who are now fighting allegations of irregular historical payments to La Liga match officials, managing to find the cash required to fulfil the bargain move.
Cancelo’s fall from grace at City proved remarkably swift and spectacular. This time last year, he was considered one of Guardiola’s most important defensive players as they chased a clean sweep of all the major honours.
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But that was before suddenly becoming an outcast at the Etihad after a row with the Spanish manager when he was dropped from the City starting line-up in favour of young homegrown defender Rico Lewis.
Cancelo, capped 46 times by his country, became the most expensive full back in world football in July 2019 as he joined City from Juventus for £60million. The ex-Benfica man won three league titles in England to add to those he lifted in Portugal and Italy.
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