Barcelona target Ferran Torres, Raheem Sterling and more Man City stars to spark Xavi era – Transfer Notebook
In the latest edition of Transfer Notebook our insider Dean Jones brings you the latest updates from the world of transfers to keep you right up to date. In this edition we look at Ferran Torres being added to Barcelona’s shortlist as they look to revamp their squad. Plus some news on a target for Leeds United and the latest on the situation with Dele Alli.
Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling of Manchester City react during the warm up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City
Barcelona are looking towards Manchester City players to join them as part of an attempt to reclaim their identity.
Ferran Torres has become the latest City star to be linked with the Spanish side, following on from interest in Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva. There is truth in all three cases so it will be intriguing to see how Barca follow up in 2022.
City officials are increasingly perplexed about why Barcelona are tracking their talent at a time when their financial situation does not appear to reflect a scenario in which they could put together a strong offer for any of them.
Yet there is a desire to use the appointment of Xavi Hernandez to bring back the old Barca style of football and sources in Spain believe they are looking towards the blue half of Manchester for players that fit the mould - but could also have their heads turned.
City’s football under former Barca player and manager Guardiola means every player in the squad is well drilled on a philosophy of football that was born out of his Catalan roots. Signing players from City will not be easy, even if the financials can be addressed, given the club rarely sell players unless it absolutely suits them to do so.
Sterling is open to the idea of playing in La Liga while Pep Guardiola has previously admitted Bernardo had been seeking a move away.
There has also been some interest from Barca in Joao Cancelo but as part of the identity overhaul at Camp Nou, it is understood Barca are going to put particular focus on their wide attacking options.
They are beginning to look into ways they can open up the transfer market to bring in new options from January yet, so far, it is unclear how much they are likely to have to spend and how they would meet big salary requests.
Ferran Torres of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Manchester City and RB Leipzig at Etihad Stadium on September 15, 2021 in Manchester, United Kingdom
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The Sterling transfer has been mooted as an initial loan, which is not particularly appealing to Man City halfway through a season in which they are trying to win the Premier League and Champions League. Bernardo has played a deeper role and been one of their best performers this season so there would also not be an appetite to lose him during the season.
The latest story about Ferran does have substance as he ponders how his career at City is going to shape up. He is currently injured but Guardiola has often turned to him as an adaptable centre-forward option and is a big admirer of his ability to understand roles across the front line.
It is no secret that City are looking to add to their squad in 2022 and will seek to sign a more natural striker when the right opportunity opens up.
Guardiola has always had trouble keeping his attacking players happy because of the rotation system in place and next year that will become increasingly so as Sterling and Ferran - as well as Riyad Mahrez - weigh up how they fit in.
Leeds eye Brereton Diaz
Leeds United are one of the leading clubs looking into a move for Blackburn Rovers forward Ben Brereton Diaz.
He is out-of-contract at the end of the season and Championship side Rovers face a battle to hang on to him. Brereton Diaz, 22, has established himself as a Chile international and has 16 goals from 20 games in the Championship so far this season.
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Sevilla have been tracking him since the beginning of the year while in England scouts from Burnley, Newcastle, Brighton and Southampton have all watched him too.
Leeds are looking to add new life to their attack in January though and sources expect them to make a serious push to sign him.
Diaz is still in talks with Rovers over a potential new contract but as of yet there is no indication he is set to put pen-to-paper.
Alli not giving up on Spurs
Tottenham are expecting interest in Dele Alli to ramp up in the coming weeks but the player himself is not giving up on his Spurs career just yet.
Dele has work to do to get into Antonio Conte’s starting XI but realises this is his last chance to work things out at Tottenham and there have been no complaints privately or publicly so far about how things are shaping up under the new boss.
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Conte believes he can unlock Dele to get him back to previous levels and the midfielder is eager to do so.
Options away from Spurs will be there - but there is a concern about where he would end up if he pushed for a move in January. Newcastle are most frequently linked with signing him but the idea of joining a relegation battle is not enticing.