Man City have told Barcelona what to expect from transfer talks this summer
Relations between Manchester City and Barcelona have undeniably improved since the most recent presidential elections at the Nou Camp.
Gone are the days of Barcelona coming out to welcome City’s ban from the Champions League being instantly followed by Pep Guardiola ominously warning his boyhood club ‘not to talk too loud’, with the latest Joan Laporta era instead being kicked off with the amicable moves of Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero.
There could yet be more collaboration in the transfer window, while the two clubs are also set to meet each other in a friendly this summer as part of their preparations for the new campaign with the Blues and Guardiola heading back to Barcelona for the warm-up game.
Yet the warmth of many of the City hierarchy towards their former home only goes so far. Ferran Soriano showed the extent to which he will prioritise business when he briefly signed the Blues up to the ill-fated European Super League earlier this year, while Txiki Begiristain has shown both with Garcia and with Bayern Munich’s pursuit of Leroy Sane that there is a bottom line which must be met if players are to be allowed to leave.
City are open to a host of their top stars departing this summer as Guardiola shakes up his squad, and Barcelona have fluttered their eyelashes at many of them. However, as M.E.N Sport has reported, the Blues are not interested in player-swap deals to help the cashflow of the Catalans out. (Yes, drink in that Barcelona want more City players than vice versa).That means that if the La Liga giants want Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte, or anybody else to join Aguero and Garcia in their City old boys club they will have to stump up the kind of fees that Begiristain and his team deem acceptable in order to lose that quality from the squad. As Bayern found out, the Blues do not roll over just because a (fellow) big club comes calling. Garcia would have had his move last season had his very reasonable price been met.
The best sides in Europe are right to pay attention given that, for the first time in a while, there is an opportunity to bag some top players from Manchester. But they can forget about any deal unless they have the financial clout to be able to negotiate with.
For all the goodwill stemming from Laporta’s return to the Nou Camp, City will quickly find out if the policy of demanding players at well below their market value is an unfortunate hangover from the chaos of the Josep Maria Bartomeu era. If it is, it will get exactly the same treatment from City despite the change in personnel.