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Manchester City issue Barcelona and Joao Cancelo transfer blow as alternative summer destination emerges



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Manchester City could be set to reject the demands of both Barcelona and Joao Cancelo after Saudi Arabia emerged as a potential permanent destination for the player.

The 29-year-old sensationally quit the Etihad Stadium in January 2023 after a rumoured training ground bust-up, completing successive loan spells at Bayern Munich and Barcelona following a departure from Manchester City.

Cancelo completed an initial short-term move to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich for the remainder of the 2022/23 season, before signing for Barcelona on a season-long loan in September for the entirety of the current campaign.

The full-back signed a long-term deal until 2027 at the Etihad Stadium less than 12 months before quitting the Premier League club, with Etihad bosses now seeking to recoup the £60 million transfer fee paid to Juventus in 2019 for the Portugal international.

Cancelo, who made 154 appearances and won two Premier League titles with Manchester City, had started 23 games for Pep Guardiola’s side before moving to the Allianz Arena after an apparent incident at the City Football Academy in January 2023.

The Portuguese defender has made 25 La Liga appearances so far this season and has also featured in eight UEFA Champions League matches, with Barcelona interested in extending the 28-year-olds loan deal.

Continued financial issues at the Catalan club threaten to derail Barcelona’s hopes of re-signing the right-back however, with Manchester City keen to complete the sale of Cancelo this summer.

Despite both the club and player being keen to extend the current loan agreement, the Saudi Pro League and Arsenal have both recently emerged as potential suitors for the defender.

Sport Witness relay a report by outlet Sport, claiming that Manchester City ‘absolutely prioritise’ the permanent sale of the right-back this summer, and that the Sky Blues have been ‘experiencing strong interest’ from the Saudi Pro League in signing Cancelo.

Al-Hilal are reportedly ‘keen’ to sign Cancelo and could make an offer that would be ‘unattainable’ to Barcelona in an attempt to complete a transfer.

Cancelo is the third Manchester City player to be linked with a possible move to the Middle East, following interest in both Kyle Walker and Kevin De Bruyne.

Both Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte, who won the treble last season, completed moves to the Saudi Pro League last year.