Guardi­ola sets his sights on Tor­res but Va­len­cia drive a hard bar­gain

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By James Ducker north­ern foot­ball cor­re­spon­dent

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.