Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez has admitted that the La Liga champions missed out on Joao Cancelo with Arsenal now keen on the Manchester City misfit.
The Portugal international has somehow managed to end arguably the most tumultuous, frustrating seasons of his senior career with not one but two league winners’ medals. Go figure.
Joao Cancelo was bombed out of the Etihad after falling out of favour with Pep Guardiola in January, before finding himself in and out of the starting XI on loan at Bayern Munich too. And with the newly-crowned Bundesliga champions already deciding that they will not trigger the £60 million option-to-buy clause in his contract, the former Juventus, Inter Milan and Valencia full-back will be on the market again this summer.
Fabrizio Romano reports that Cancelo has admirers at Arsenal. No surprise really, considering Guardiola’s former assistant Mikel Arteta is the man at the helm at the Emirates Stadium.
The chances of Barcelona renewing their interest in a player who missed out on a move to the Camp Nou in January look slim, however; Xavi confirming that a full-back is no longer a priority following Sergio Busquets’ departure.
Will Arsenal sign another Man City man in Joao Cancelo?
“We wanted Cancelo,” Xavi tells TV3. “They (Man City) offered him to us and we gave the OK.
“In the end, they told us that Manchester City did not want him to come to Barca. That is true.”
After Arsenal ran City close in a tense Premier League title race, it remains to be seen if Guardiola and co have reservations about letting Cancelo go to the Emirates too, particularly after Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko made such an impact in North London.
“Defensively, sometimes he needs to be consistent. But when he is consistent, his focus is fantastic,” Guardiola once said of the ‘exceptional’ Cancelo during happier times at Manchester City.
“He’s a fantastic guy, and a (fantastic) football player.”
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