Guardiola ‘keen’ to offload ‘arrogant’ City star to Barca for cut-price ‘to get rid’ of Arsenal target

Jason Soutar
Pep Guardiola gives advice to Joao Cancelo
Pep Guardiola speaking to Joao Cancelo

Manchester City are ‘keen’ to sell Joao Cancelo to Barcelona in the summer as Pep Guardiola ‘does not want him in his squad’, according to a report.

Cancelo was sent on loan to Bayern Munich in January after falling out of favour under Guardiola.

The Spanish manager has preferred to play Nathan Ake, Rico Lewis and Manuel Akanji in left-back this term, explaining last weekend that he wants a “proper defender” up against the talented right-wingers in world football.

In what has been viewed as a dig at Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko, who City sold to Arsenal last summer, Guardiola said: “I learned this season when you play against (Bukayo) Saka, Vinicius (Jr), (Gabriel) Martinelli, (Mohamed) Salah or (Sadio) Mane in the past, you need a proper defender to win duels one-v-one.

“Or, in the Champions League, at that level, they need one action to beat you.

“And Nathan gave us that boost that I didn’t have in the past.

“The biggest boost was having a proper defender and in the past we didn’t have it and Nathan, (Manuel) Akanji and [Kyle] Walker did it.”

Cancelo has failed to endear himself to the Bayern fans during his time in Munich and the German club are not expected to take up the €70million (£62m) buy option in their loan deal.

Despite his average form for City and Bayern this term, there is plenty of interest in the Portuguese international ahead of the summer window.

Barcelona have been linked for a few weeks now and the summer exit of Jordi Alba could see the La Liga champions step up their pursuit.

Xavi has also opted to use French central defender Jules Kounde as a right-back this term, with Cancelo a natural in both full-back positions.

The Blaugrana are not the only club interested, with Mikel Arteta reportedly hoping to bring Cancelo to Arsenal having briefly worked with him in 2019.

City might be reluctant to sell to the Gunners, however, after giving them Gabriel Jesus and Zinchenko last summer, which propelled Arteta’s side into title contenders.

Guardiola will probably not be too bothered as he sees Cancelo as an ‘arrogant and contestant player’, according to Spanish newspaper SPORT.

City would be willing to accept €40m (£34.7m) ‘to get rid’ of the defender with Bayern not willing to sign him permanently.

This has been ‘transmitted’ to Barcelona with the City hierarchy ‘keen’ to see Cancelo ‘end up’ at the Nou Camp.

Cancelo is ‘not wanted in the squad’ after falling out with Guardiola, with a move to Barca potentially opening the door for Kounde to leave.

Kounde has been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea this week but took to Twitter on Thursday evening to say he does not want to leave the Catalan club at the end of the season.

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