Manchester City were willing to part ways with long-serving winger Raheem Sterling, as well as teammate Bernardo Silva, as Pep Guardiola plotted a raid on former club Barcelona
Manchester City offered up Raheem Sterling as they looked to strike a swap deal for Barcelona starlet Ansu Fati this summer, according to reports in Spain.
Fati, 18, is regarded as one of Europe’s brightest teenage talents and he has been linked with Manchester United in the past.
But it has emerged City boss Pep Guardiola was keen to raid his former club to sign the winger, with two players on the table as bargaining chips.
Etihad hero Sterling was one of these players and Bernardo Silva the other, with Barcelona and City chiefs locked in talks over Fati throughout the summer.
That is according to SPORT , which claims Fati would have been allowed to leave Camp Nou had Barcelona received a huge offer.
Even though Fati, alongside midfielder Pedri, is seen as the club’s future and successor to Lionel Messi, no players were untouchable due to the ongoing financial crisis at the Catalan club.
The report adds Barcelona specifically asked about Sterling and Silva, whose futures at City appeared uncertain during the transfer window.
The England winger, 26, risked slipping down the pecking order after Jack Grealish’s £100million arrival from Aston Villa, while Portugal attacker Silva, 27, was keen on a new challenge.
During negotiations, Barcelona were understandably loath to part ways with Fati and offered winger Ousmane Dembele and striker Martin Braithwaite in return.
This proposal was swiftly rejected by City, who instead proposed a Sterling-Fati swap deal which was also rebuffed.
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Talks broke down, but City may rekindle their interest in Fati as soon as January, by which time he will have six months remaining on his contract.
While Barcelona have the option to extend his deal by two years, the Spain international may be keen to move elsewhere due to the club’s poor form and financial situation.
Fati is set to return after 10 months on the sidelines with a knee injury against Levante in this weekend.
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman will hope this can inspire his side to improved results, with the Blaugrana seventh in La Liga having won just two of their five games so far.
Fati joined Barcelona’s academy ranks from Sevilla in 2012 and made his senior debut in 2019, going on to score 13 goals in 41 appearances.
Sterling, meanwhile, has featured in all five of City’s Premier League games this season, scoring once to take his tally for the club to 115 goals in 299 games.