- Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo is expected to join Bayern Munich on loan before the end of the January transfer window
- According to reports, their relationship recently soured after a training ground brawl
- Cancelo has seen limited action since returning from the World Cup
Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo is expected to join Bayern Munich on loan before the end of the January transfer window.
A deal has been reached with an option to buy the fullback for £61.5 million (€70 million).
Cancelo has seen limited action since returning from the World Cup, as Pep Guardiola has changed the composition of his squad.
Why is he leaving?
The Portuguese star hasn’t been at his glittering best this season, but neither have the rest of his teammates, who have seen a drop in their insanely high standards, allowing Arsenal to take charge of the title race.
But why would he want to leave a team that has helped him achieve so much and thrive as much as he has under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage?
According to reports, their relationship recently soured after a training ground brawl, but what caused their rift?
His lack of playing time has caused the defender to become increasingly frustrated in Manchester, and his relationship with his manager had suffered as a result, mainly when he was left out of the starting XI on Friday night for their FA Cup clash.
City believes they have plenty of cover with four other senior centre-backs at the club John Stones, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, and Manuel Akanji. Changes to the side’s shape have also hampered Cancels’s game.
It remains to be seen whether a deal can be completed before the end of the transfer window.
Who will replace Cancelo at City?
After Argentina Under-20 midfielder Maximo Perrone, it appears unlikely that any more January arrivals will be made.
Cancelo’s departure demonstrates how quickly things can change. Despite their generally systematic approach in the market, City demonstrated they could be quick on their feet towards the end of the summer window when they signed Manuel Akanji on a cheap deal from Borussia Dortmund.
On the surface, Cancelo following Zinchenko out the door after a close season in which City failed to sign Marc Cucurella suggests that Guardiola is foolishly short on specialist fullbacks.
Lewis has been a revelation, while Sergio Gomez has been less convincing defensively in his sporadic appearances at left-back. If Cancelo goes, Walker will be the only senior fullback.
However, Lewis’ emergence, Ake’s performances on the left side of the defence, and the presence of five centre-backs to carry out Guardiola’s current tactical plan give the impression that there is adequate cover.
Walker, Akanji, Stones, Ake, and Laporte have all lined up as either right or left back on paper this season but have spent the majority of their time in a back three.
Will Cancelo play against Man City in the Champions League?
Although City and Bayern must first negotiate with RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain, respectively, before drawing each other at some point.
Players who played for another club in the same season used to be cup-tied in UEFA competitions, but that is no longer the case as of 2018/19.
Philippe Coutinho famously left Barcelona red-faced in 2020 after scoring against them while on loan at Bayern in an 8-2 thrash.