Exclusive: Guardiola gunning for Chelsea ace to replace fallen star who’ll never play for Man City again
TEAMtalk has learned Man City are gunning for a new addition in defence this summer and if Pep Guardiola has his way, a Chelsea man will be signed to replace a fallen superstar.
The January window brought a plethora of surprising moves across the Premier League. The Blues set the new British transfer record when prising Enzo Fernandez out of Benfica to the tune of £106.8m.
Man Utd conducted a piece of business at the other end of the spectrum when landing Burnley hitman Wout Weghorst on a six-month loan. Elsewhere, Tottenham hijacked Everton’s move for Arnaut Danjuma in the eleventh hour, though have since proceeded to barely play the Dutch international.
But arguably the biggest shock came when Man City loaned Joao Cancelo out to Bayern Munich.
Indeed, the Portugal international has been a mainstay in multiple title-winning sides at the Etihad. He was named in each of the previous two EPL teams of the season and even earned a place in the FIFPRO World Xi for 2022.
However, all that counted for naught when when a reported falling out between Cancelo and Guardiola resulted in the full-back being turfed out to Germany. His loan deal contains an option to buy worth a hefty €70m (£62.8m).
Cancelo finished at Man City; Replacement from Chelsea eyed
Now, speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, trusted reporter Ben Jacobs has claimed there’s a “very strong possibility” Cancelo won’t play for Man City again.
Instead, Jacobs told us City are gunning for a new signing at left-back and Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell is adored by Guardiola.
“Man City are going to be looking at a left-back, that’s for sure, because Joao Cancelo doesn’t seem particularly intent on coming back,” said Jacobs.
“It’s only a loan deal but there’s a very strong possibility that he doesn’t play another game for Man City after falling out with Pep Guardiola.
“Chilwell is a player that Guardiola has appreciated for some time, but at the moment, Chilwell’s sole focus is on Chelsea and Chelsea don’t want to let Chilwell go. ”
Chilwell, 26, has quickly re-established himself in Chelsea’s starting eleven following his return from a long-term injury lay-off.
He’s bagged three goal contributions in his last three outings between the Premier League and Champions League. His attacking threat is already paying dividends for Graham Potter whose side look infinitely more menacing with Chilwell and Reece James back on the flanks.
As such, Jacobs stressed Chelsea will do all they can to avoid losing Chilwell, especially to a domestic rival.
Jacobs acknowledged any City move for Chilwell is in its infancy at present, though if given an opening, Guardiola and City will gladly spring his signing.
If the Blues erect a brick wall around Chilwell, a more budget-friendly option is already in City’s sights.
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Boehly v Guardiola for Chilwell
Jacobs continued: “Chelsea don’t want to let Chilwell go and City haven’t advanced any interest in him at this point. But it is true that Pep Guardiola really likes the player.
“And of course, the advantage of Chilwell is that he can play in a variety of different positions on the left hand side and he showed against Leicester what he’s capable of, scoring against his former club and putting in a bunch of menacing balls as well.
“At the moment, it’s premature to be talking about a Chilwell move away from Chelsea because that’s not something that Chelsea’s ownership are entertaining.
“Todd Boehly has made it clear a number of times to suitors with a variety of players, even ones that he’s potentially prepared to loan out or sell, that he doesn’t always want to do business with a Premier League rival.
“So I don’t think that this one has legs at the moment other than an admiration for the player. But it is absolutely true that Man City want a left-sided player.
“They’ve been looking at, over the course of the last two windows, a slightly more budget-friendly option as well away from Chilwell,
“Borna Sosa, who’s doing really well at the moment and would be available in the market for a fraction of the price of Chilwell is a left-sided option as well.”
Sosa, 25, plies his trade for Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart. The Croatia international has provided nine assists in just 18 matches this term and is also wanted by Tottenham.
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