Guardiola sets his sights on Torres but Valencia drive a hard bargain
Valencia are playing hard ball with Manchester City over a fee for winger Ferran Torres, as the Spanish club seek to raise around €80 million (£73 million) through player sales.
City have identified Torres as a leading target to replace Leroy Sane, who joined Bayern Munich in a projected £54.8 million deal this month, as their rebuilding plans gather pace. The Spain Under-21 international has signalled his desire to play under Pep Guardiola at City, having attracted interest from a host of Europe’s top clubs, and has entered the final 12 months of his contract with Valencia.
That contract is understood to include a £91 million buyout clause but, with Torres refusing to sign a new deal and Valencia unwilling to lose him for nothing at the end of next season, there is an acceptance the 20-year-old is likely to leave for considerably less this summer.
Peter Lim, the Valencia owner, is determined to drive a hard bargain as he seeks to raise substantial funds in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and the club missing out on qualification for next season’s Champions League.
It has made the fee for Torres the biggest sticking point in a deal with City, who are also prioritising the recruitment of a centre-back and a left-back in the transfer window as Guardiola attempts to wrest back the Premier League title from Liverpool next season. Torres remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached between the clubs. Valencia are thought to
have an interest in Yangel Herrera, the Venezuela midfielder who has impressed on loan at Granada from City this season.
Those who have worked with Torres have likened his technical ability and intelligence to the former Arsenal winger Robert Pires, albeit with considerably more pace than the Frenchman. He tends to play on the right but can operate on both flanks and is comfortable coming inside and going outside.
Having come fourth in La Liga last season to qualify for the Champions League, Valencia struggled this term and finished in ninth place, but Torres was one of the bright spots, managing six goals and eight assists in 44 games.
Guardiola is targeting at least three signings this summer. City have inquired about the Bournemouth centre-half Nathan Ake, who, despite being Dutch, counts as home-grown and could offer some cover at left-back, and have an interest in Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Diego Carlos, of Sevilla.
Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen is due to be available on a free transfer. Having failed to replace Vincent Kompany last summer, City could be in the market for two central defenders if Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones were to leave.
Guardiola would love to sign Bayern Munich left-back David Alaba, who would give City versatility in a number of positions, although the player’s strong preference if he were to leave Germany would be to move to Spain, so a deal could be difficult. City are also admirers of Leicester’s Ben Chilwell, even if an asking price of £80million would be prohibitive, and Alex Sandro, of Juventus.