BARCELONA

Ferran Torres: Barcelona in transfer talks with Manchester City

AS has confirmed that Barcelona have made Spain international Ferran Torres their top transfer target and are negotiating with Manchester City.

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Ferran Torres: Barcelona in talks for with Manchester City

Barcelona have identified Spain international Ferran Torres as the player to lead Xavi’s revolution at Camp Nou and are in talks with Manchester City over a move for the 21-year-old. Barça’s interest in Torres was first reported by Spanish radio network Cadena SER on Friday and AS can confirm that the forward is Xavi’s number one priority and that the club, who have set aside transfer funds for one major signing, do not have a Plan B in mind. As such, this paper has been able to ascertain that director of football Mateu Alemany is in Manchester to negotiate with City’s owners. Barça are hopeful of coming to an arrangement for Torres to join in the January window but will be prepared to wait until next summer if necessary.

Talks between the two clubs have been going on behind the scenes for a couple of weeks. Despite rumours suggesting Barcelona had identified Raheem Sterling as a possible option, the Camp Nou board have been working in the background to try and seal a deal for Torres, who is currently sidelined with a fractured foot, which could help Barça's cause. 

While the forward is a guaranteed starter for Spain under Luis Enrique, he has been in and out of Pep Guardiola’s well-stocked City attack this season and is reportedly keen to be handed a key role at Barcelona if the opportunity arises.

Torres came through the academy system at Valencia, where he spent 14 years, making 97 senior appearances for the club. He was sold to City in 2020 – a year after Alemany had left his role as CEO at Mestalla – for a fee in the region of €23 million on a five-year contract. In 43 appearances for Guardiola’s side, he has registered 16 goals.

It is on the international stage that Torres has really announced himself though, the 21-year-old scoring 12 times in 21 caps for Luis Enrique’s La Roja, a strike rate that better the goal returns of Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Romelu Lukaku and Karim Benzema with their national teams at the same age.

Guardiola sanctions Torres sale, with one condition

According to a report in Barcelona-based sports daily Mundo Deportivo on Saturday, Guardiola is happy enough to let Torres leave for his former club but only on a permanent deal and for the right price. Given Barça’s parlous financial situation and the fact City do not need to sell, the fee the Premier League side put forward will be key to the Camp Nou’s designs.

Torres is valued at €50m by Transfermarkt, which would represent a doubling of City’s money on the fee they paid Valencia 15 months ago, but given his international status Barça may have to add a few more euros to that, or offer a player in part-exchange, to get the green light with City not ready to contemplate any sort of loan arrangement.