In what was a whirlwind tail-end of the transfer window for both Manchester clubs, City saw their pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo fall short and reportedly turned their attentions to Barca’s Ansu Fati
Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Manchester United has been dubbed everything from a ‘fairytale homecoming’ to the ‘return of the king’, but things could have been oh so different had Manchester City got their way.
Pep Guardiola’s side were on the brink of securing the four-time Ballon D’or winners signature, before a few familiar faces from United’s camp reportedly intervened and tugged on the Portugal captain’s heart-strings.
As a result, City were pipped to the post by their fierce local rivals, but if reports from Spain are anything to go by – the last few days of the transfer window could have been even more dramatic for those over at the Etihad after they lined up a move for one of Barcelona’s brightest stars as a replacement if the Ronaldo move fell through.
Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo claim that in the wake of Ronaldo choosing the red half of Manchester over blue, Guardiola contacted the agent of Ansu Fati – Jorge Mendes, who also happens to represent Ronaldo, while he was in Manchester to enquire over the possibility of luring the teenager to the Etihad.
Those high up in the City hierarchy are rumoured to have phoned Mendes in a bid to disrupt contractual negotiations between Fati and Barcelona, who already suffered the crushing blow of losing Lionel Messi just weeks earlier in the summer window.
However, in what makes for welcome news for Barca fans, the prospect is thought to have barely got off the ground, Fati and Mendes in agreement that remaining at the Camp Nou for the foreseeable future is in the player’s best interest.
The La Liga giants hold Fati in such high regard they have handed Messi’s iconic number 10 shirt to the 18-year-old, as he is viewed by many in the Barcelona hierarchy as the club’s next superstar, bursting on to the scene after emerging from the famed La Masia academy set-up.
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Fati has caught the attention of a number of other clubs since 2019 – when he made history as he became the youngest Barcelona player to score in La Liga history, finding the net against Osasuna at just 16 years and 304 days old.
Despite City’s significant spending power, they ended up recruiting just one new addition this summer in the form of ex- Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish, though they did break the British transfer record to land him – the England international costing £100m.