Ferran Torres is on the verge of leaving Manchester City with Barcelona agreeing a transfer worth over £50m, according to reports.
With only seven starts and three goals to his name for City this term, it’s been a difficult second season in England for Torres.
Signed from Valencia in August 2020 for £20.8m after making a name for himself as one of the most exciting youth prospects in La Liga, he made good progress in his first season at the Etihad and ended up with 13 goals in 36 appearances.
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While many of those appearances came as a substitute and he was often one of City’s more understated attacking threats, it was still an impressive return for a player who turned 21 midway through the campaign. Torres gained further experience with Spain at Euro 2020, scoring twice in five appearances as Luis Enrique’s side reached the semi-finals.
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Torres has made a slower start this time around, however, not helped by the fact that he has been sidelined since October with a foot injury he picked up on international duty. With Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez all staking their claim to a starting spot, he faces a hard fight to force his way into City’s front three.
The Catalan giants are in the midst of a monumental rebuilding project under club legend Xavi and the BBC say Barca are now close to signing Torres.
Barcelona have reportedly told him that he will be a cornerstone of the Xavi era, which has started unremarkably with the Blaugrana currently seventh in La Liga and already out of the Champions League.
Barcelona are embroiled in an ongoing financial crisis, so any business in the January transfer window will necessitate player sales. While Torres could sign for an initial fee of around £46m, that could rise after add-ons.
Asked about Barcelona’s interest in Torres earlier this week, director of football Mateu Alemany told Catalan outlet Sport: “We have many duties, the first thing is to meet financial fair play requirements to be able to sign.
“There have to be exits and certain actions to meet fair play. It is clear what we want, although I will not say it… we have clear ideas, we are going step by step.”
Among the players who could leave Camp Nou in January are Samuel Umtiti and Philippe Coutinho, both of whom have become peripheral figures at the club. Star players such as Frenkie de Jong, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Sergino Dest have also been rumoured to be nearing the exit.
Meanwhile, assuming they can find a way to cover their wages, Barcelona have been linked with two more forwards in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Edinson Cavani. Having lost Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann at the start of the season only for Sergio Aguero to be forced into early retirement owing to a heart condition, Xavi is short of options up front and, as such, signing a striker is clearly a priority.
Asked about his transfer plans last month, Xavi was non-committal.
“We are going to assess it with the club and we are going to decide,” he said.
“It is too soon to say, but we are going to work to strengthen the team, it is always an opportunity.
“For me, it is clear, we must recover the demand for success and [make sure] that the players are clear about what they have to do in each moment of the game.”
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