It has taken a little longer than initially expected, but it looks like Barcelona will not fail in their attempt to sign Xavi Hernández’s number one right-back target as the Catalan club is in advanced negotiations with Manchester City for João Cancelo.
In fact, Fabrizio Romano’s most recent report says the Portugal international’s move to Barça is just a matter of time.
João Cancelo to Barça, matter of time. Negotiations are advanced with City — no agreement yet on salary coverage & loan fee but getting closer. ⏳— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 18, 2023
João wants Barça, not negotiating with any other club.
Deal will include buy option clause not mandatory.
Talks ongoing. pic.twitter.com/jQnuZK4VGx
The other details in Romano’s report sound like very good news to Barça: the two sides are finalizing negotiations on the loan fee and, more importantly, what Fabrizio calls “salary coverage”. It sounds like City will agree to pay part of Cancelo’s salary so Barça can fit the player into their current wage structure and La Liga’s salary cap, with the player’s desire to join Barça a big driving force in City’s willingness to accept such terms.
And perhaps the biggest piece of news is that Barça will manage to include a simple buy option into the deal, and not a mandatory clause as City initially wanted. Regardless of what the fixed amount for the option ends up being, with the Citizens reportedly wanting at least €60 million, making the buy clause not mandatory is a win that gives Barça more flexibility if Cancelo doesn’t manage to play like the world-class right-back that Xavi and the fans are hoping for.
Fabrizio’s news means we can all breathe a sigh of relief for now, and we might not have to wait too long to see an official announcement and the first real picture of Cancelo in a Blaugrana shirt.