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Manchester City defender emerges as transfer target for Saudi Pro League clubs – €25 million could complete deal



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Saudi Arabia have been continuously linked with various Manchester City stars this summer, and their latest pursuit concerns an Etihad Stadium defender.

Joao Cancelo has been out of the Manchester City first-team picture for the best part of 18 months having been excluded by Pep Guardiola in the Catalan’s plans following the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

During the club’s successful pursuit of a historic Treble in the second-half of the 2022/23 campaign, Cancelo was left to find other options in Europe with Rico Lewis preferred in a revamped tactical system, and Kyle Walker utilised as the more traditional right-back option.

As such, a six-month loan agreement with Bayern Munich was finalised, before a season-long loan switch to Barcelona was agreed for the 2023/24 campaign. However, with Cancelo now in the midst of his summer holidays, his future beyond the ongoing market remains unknown.

Amid ongoing uncertainty surrounding Barcelona’s abilities to finance a deal, Joao Cancelo and his representatives may be forced to seek other alternatives, and possibly even outside of European football.

According to the information of The Daily Briefing’s Mark Brus, Cancelo is now a target for clubs in the Saudi Pro League, as well as big names in Europe, as the Premier League champions look to sell this summer.

It is detailed that the want-away Portugal international has been approached by some Saudi Arabian clubs, with Al Ahli and Al Ettifaq among those to have held talks with the player’s ‘inner circle’.

As previously reported in other quarters, the latest information reaffirms that both Juventus and Inter Milan remain interested and have been in touch about a potential deal, while Cancelo himself still has an agreement on personal terms with Barcelona.

Financial restraints could cause problems for the La Liga giants and any desire to retain Joao Cancelo permanently this summer, despite Manchester City being open to selling the player for a cut price figure of around €25 million to €30 million.

Unsurprisingly, the report points out that Saudi Arabian clubs would be willing to pay Manchester City’s aforementioned asking price for Joao Cancelo, but suitors from the European game would favour a ‘cheaper deal’.

Manchester City are widely expected to remain satisfied with their right-back options for the forthcoming season, even if Joao Cancelo was to secure a permanent move away from the Etihad Stadium in the coming weeks.

Rico Lewis is widely viewed as a top talent for the immediate and long-term future within Manchester City, whilst there is continued faith in the services and performances of club captain Kyle Walker, despite various issues last season.

Walker himself has attracted transfer attention from Saudi Arabia and at Bayern Munich, but the feeling from within the club is that an exit for the 33-year-old is unlikely within the coming weeks.