Manchester City forward Ferran Torres is reportedly ‘keen’ to leave for Barcelona in January, despite the La Liga side’s current financial woes making a deal unlikely.
Such speculation will seemingly come as a surprise to the Premier League champions, the Spaniard – who is currently out injured – having only joined the club just over a year ago from Valencia in a £23m deal.
Despite not earning a place as a regular starter in Pep Guardiola’s side since his arrival at the Etihad, the 21-year-old has shown notable signs of promise thus far, netting 13 times in all competitions last term, as well as two in four in the top-flight so far this season.
Prior to the injury he picked up on international duty back in October, Torres had impressed in the early weeks of the season in a centre-forward role, the club’s failed pursuit of both Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo offering the chance to nail down the striking berth.
According to The Athletic, however, the youngster is already said to be contemplating a departure from Manchester, with a move to the Nou Camp potentially on the cards.
The report suggests that he is ‘far from desperate’ to leave his current side, although he has been ‘seduced’ by the idea of playing a central role under new Barcelona boss Xavi, with a regular starting berth hard to come by at City – particularly if they sign a new striker in the summer.
While Torres has not informed Guardiola of any desire to leave the club, City are believed to be ‘aware’ of the player’s potential intentions, with speculation also ramped up after reports that Barcelona’s director of football Mateu Alemany and chief executive Ferran Reverter were at City’s training ground on Friday.
The major sticking point in any move, however, is the dire financial situation that the Catalan giants are currently facing, the report outlining that at present the club would not be able to strike a deal unless they can get players off the wage bill, owing to the lack of room in their salary cap.
The likes of Phillipe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele have been linked with potential departures in the near future in order to generate funds, albeit with the latter man perhaps more likely to move on for free in the summer when his current contract expires.
With a loan deal also unlikely to be sanctioned by City – and with La Blaugrana seemingly unable to afford both his wages and asking price – it would seem that hopes of an exit for Torres are slim.
This news comes amid continued speculation that Barcelona are also keen to bring in Raheem Sterling in January, although again any loan deal appears unlikely owing to his continued importance under Guardiola and recent impressive goalscoring form.