From some major stars possibly forcing a move away from Manchester City, to blockbuster swap deals, we’re here to provide you with your daily update on all the Etihad-related transfer stories from the past 24 hours.
Manuel Locatelli – Rumour Rating: 5
As Fernandinho winds down his Manchester City career, finding a long term replacement to join Rodri in the midfield rotation should become an important task for the Etihad hierarchy this summer.
One name who has long been linked with a move to the Premier League club is Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.
According to reports from Gazzetta dello Sport, and relayed by Sport Witness, several big clubs in Europe have all made enquiries for Locatelli, including Chelsea and Manchester City, who have both ‘made moves’.
The 23-year-old has spoken out about his future, claiming that it will be decided when he returns to Sassuolo after the European Championships – where Locatelli has become a key member in Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad.
My rumour rating of five is based on the fact that no official talks have been reported. However, Locatelli appears to be a player that would flourish in Pep Guardiola’s system. Do not be surprised if that rumour rating begins to spike as the summer draws on.
Raheem Sterling – Rumour Rating: 4
As per reports from the Athletic’s Sam Lee, Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling would be keen on a move away from the club this summer if the opportunity arises.
After a frustrating year for England international, there is a sense that he has grown frustrated at the Etihad; and while Pep Guardiola knows sometimes a player just has to leave, he appreciates that the 26 year-old continued to put in maximum effort despite personal feelings.
Despite the reported frustration, Raheem Sterling is not interested in the prospect of being used as a bargaining tool by Manchester City, claims the Telegraph’s Matt Law.
Although the two North London clubs are said to be interested in the winger, Tottenham would not be able to afford his wages, and Arsenal would struggle to finance a deal. In order to keep his destiny in his own hands, the winger will hold talks with the club over his future at the end of the European Championships, with the club ready to discuss a new long-term deal.
A rumour rating of four feels sufficient in this situation. While Raheem Sterling may be frustrated after a disappointing 2020/21 season, it does not change the fact that he has been a crucial member of Pep Guardiola’s title winning squads. On top of that, securing the signature of a 26 year-old with a goal scoring record like his would require an astronomical fee, that very few clubs can match.
Bernardo Silva – Rumour Rating: 7
Although it could come as a surprise to many, Sam Lee has reported that midfielder Bernardo Silva would like to leave Manchester City. Sources say that he had his heart set on a move to Barcelona last summer and everything was in place for it to happen, only to fall through late on, leaving him crestfallen.
After two seasons of stunning form for the Portuguese man, 2020 and 2021 resulted in a large dip in the midfielders goal contribution numbers, which can largely be put down to his changing role in Pep Guardiola’s system.
The manager however, is reluctant to let Bernardo Silva leave the Etihad, due to his performances and application despite his reported discontent. While the boss knows he needs to refresh his squad, he would be reluctant to see him go, as is the case with Raheem Sterling.
My rumour rating of seven for Silva’s possible departure comes on the back of the fact that it could be time for a refresh in the attacking part of the squad for the Premier League champions.
And while Raheem Sterling would command a large fee that most clubs cannot meet, a transfer fee for Bernardo Silva could be in the realm of possibility for some of the clubs reported to be interested in the mercurial winger.
Later in the day, Duncan Castles, who has been the go to man regarding this saga, has further reinforced Barcelona have made an ‘informal proposal’ to the midfielder and now have to satisfy Manchester City with a ‘large cash offer’.
Bernardo Silva / João Felix Swap Deal – Rumour Rating: 7
As stated above, Bernardo Silva is keen to force a move away from Manchester City. One of the rumoured destinations is Atletico Madrid, and according to transfer guru Dean Jones, a swap deal involving the two clubs could be on the table.
As per the reports, Atletico Madrid forward João Felix’s situation at the La Liga club ‘seems uncertain’, and the Spanish champion’s interest in Bernardo Silva may, potentially, present an opportunity for a swap deal.
Another rumour rating of seven feels good in this situation as Manchester City will be looking for a replacement for the recently departed Sergio Aguero, and Joao Felix looks to be a future superstar in European football.
From a business point of view, with the two players coming in at a similar market value, a swap deal could ensure that the Premier League club can save some of their money for other targets, such as Jack Grealish.
Man City / Barcelona Swap Deals – Rumour Rating: 1
Recent claims have stated that Barcelona and Manchester City could be in talks for multiple major swap deals, including a blockbuster deal that would see Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva possibly being swapped with Ousmane Dembele and Sergi Roberto.
And with Sergio Agüero and Eric Garcia already leaving the Etihad for Catalonia, some Manchester City fans have been left bewildered – so much so that some tweeted at the La Liga club offering them the Manchester City badge and the Etihad Stadium!
Despite those reports, a few notable journalists have stepped in to bring clarity to the situation. First, in speaking on Catalonian radio station ‘Què T’hi Jugues’, Lu Martin had this to say,
“I asked in Manchester, they answered: ‘Are you crazy, what’s wrong with you?’
He continued; “It’s been talked about, especially through [Jorge] Mendes. But talking to Man City has shown that exchanging players is unfeasible…”
To back that up, the Manchester Evening News’ Stuart Brennan has weighed in on the situation, claiming that the Premier League will not be making any swap deals with Barcelona involving João Cancelo and/or Bernardo Silva.
The Etihad club have ignored the more outrageous claims, and dismissed more damaging ones like a potential swap involving the above two.
With very credible sources claiming these swap deals are nothing but nonsense, a rumour rating of one is sufficient. While a rating of zero would also be applicable, there is often no smoke without fire, no matter how small the fire may be.
Regarding an earlier report, Duncan Castles also references this deal in his story surrounding Bernardo Silva that Barcelona are offering Manchester City a huge array of players as part of ‘FFP swap’ deals.
The list, albeit quite hefty, includes Sergi Roberto, Ousmane Dembélé, Jordi Alba, Coutinho, Clément Lenglet, Trincão, Sergio Busquets, and Gerard Piqué.
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