Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has revealed that Manchester City blocked a loan move for Joao Cancelo in January, despite the player being keen to join the Catalan club. Cancelo ended up joining Bayern Munich on loan until the end of the season, but Xavi says he was his first choice to strengthen the right-back position.
In an interview with TV3, Xavi confirmed that Cancelo was offered to Barcelona by his agent and that he agreed to take him, but City changed their mind at the last minute and refused to let him go. “We wanted Cancelo in January. He was offered to us, we said yes but then we were told that Manchester City did not want him at Barcelona. This is what happened,” Xavi said.
Xavi added that he was disappointed by City’s decision, as he believes Cancelo would have been a perfect fit for his style of play and his philosophy. “He is a player who can play in different positions, he has quality, personality and experience. He was willing to make a financial effort to join us. He wanted to come,” Xavi said.
Barcelona manager, Xavi Hernandez, talks about Joao Cancelo
Cancelo joined City from Juventus in 2019 for €65 million, but he fell out of favour with Pep Guardiola this season and was looking for a way out. He had interest from several Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool, according to Fabrizio Romano, but he preferred a move to Barcelona.
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However, Guardiola reportedly vetoed the transfer, as he did not want to strengthen a potential rival in the Champions League. City are still in contention for the European trophy, while Barcelona were out of the group stages.
Cancelo has been playing regularly for Bayern since joining them on loan, but the German club are not expected to exercise their option to buy him for €70 million. This means that Cancelo will return to City in the summer and his future will be uncertain again.
Xavi has not given up on signing Cancelo and has asked the Barcelona board to sign a top right-back this summer, according to Sport. The report claims that “everything points” to Cancelo being Xavi’s main target and that he will try again to convince City and Guardiola to let him go.