Two Saudi clubs join Barcelona in race to sign Man City defender


LISBON, PORTUGAL - JUNE 4: Joao Cancelo of Portugal during International Friendly match between Portugal and Finland at Estadio Jose Alvalade on June 4, 2024 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

FC Barcelona will likely move forward with their transfer plans for this summer in the coming days. That is because, as even Javier Tebas mentioned, Barça are in a much more normal setting than they have been in recent seasons. Fortunately for Barcelona, this means that they can operate with a bit more freedom than recent windows.

However, simply because they have the freedom to circumnavigate the market does not automatically translate to being able to sign any player they want. Instead, it seems that Barcelona may be in for a long summer ahead of them as they try to iron out some operations.

One operation that is proving to be much more difficult and complicated than it was last season is that of Joao Cancelo. The 30-year-old Portuguese fullback spent the entirety of last season on loan at Barcelona, and the season before that at Bayern Munich.

Manchester City seemingly want nothing to do with him but they would still want to sell him rather than send him out on another loan. Now, according to Mundo Deportivo, Manchester City have found clubs, unlike Barcelona, who are willing to permanently take the player away.

As per MD, the two clubs that seem to be in pole position to fight it out for Cancelo are both from Saudi Arabia. Al-Ettifaq and Al-Ahli are the Middle Eastern sides who are looking to complicate things for FC Barcelona by taking away their key fullback target this summer.

Moreover, MD has revealed that Manchester City want €25-30 million for the player and these two sides are willing to give it. Serie A side Inter Milan is also reportedly interested in the player, but the buying power of the clubs from Saudi Arabia remains unmatched, especially for an economically vulnerable club like FC Barcelona.

While the Catalan giants will still do whatever it takes, in a sustainable manner, to bring Cancelo back, they will not be heading for a bidding war. Instead, Barcelona have already shortlisted some alternative options that they could count on.

For now, Cancelo himself is representing Portugal at the European Championship in Germany. While he may no longer be a player for FC Barcelona, he is still their primary full-back target.

Unfortunately, Manchester City are proving to be a difficult side to break down despite Cancelo’s personal wishes still siding with Barcelona.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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