Guardiola reflects as Man City stand on cusp of Premier League title
Manchester City outcast Joao Cancelo reportedly ‘complained’ about Rico Lewis in the days before his shock January exit. The full-back is claimed to have grown ‘agitated’ after he found himself out of Pep Guardiola’s preferred team following the World Cup.
Cancelo returned from a disappointing tournament with Portugal and was unhappy with his playing time over the proceeding weeks. By his own admission, the 28-year-old is not content unless he features in every City game.
It has been reported that Cancelo’s application in training was ‘off’ from the moment he returned from Qatar. This led to Guardiola picking other stars over the former Valencia ace, who was once a regular feature of City’s team sheets.
Cancelo supposedly ‘complained’ about those who were selected ahead of him. Teenage sensation Lewis is one of those who Cancelo is claimed to have ‘openly’ aired a grievance against.
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According to The Athletic, this led to Cancelo’s departure to Bayern Munich on deadline day in the January transfer window. Cancelo’s exit appeared a shock to the outside world, but Guardiola is believed to have allowed the player to leave after he became a disruptive figure.
The 18-year-old Lewis became an important player for City during the winter. He has made 11 Premier League appearances and will therefore qualify for a winners’ medal when his side collect the trophy on Sunday.
Cancelo joined Bayern on loan for the remainder of the season, featuring 20 times including twice against City in the Champions League. However, the Mirror reports that Guardiola is unwilling to reintegrate the defender back into his senior squad.
Bayern are reportedly unwilling to pay the £60million that it will take to make Cancelo’s transfer permanent. That leaves him facing an uncertain future, and City with a decision to make over how they offload a player Guardiola supposedly does not want.
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One avenue being explored is apparently asking Bayern for a blockbuster swap deal involving Joshua Kimmich. Guardiola remains a big fan of the Germany international having coached the star – and played a role in his transition from full-back to midfield – during his three years as manager at the Allianz Arena.
Kimmich would the ideal replacement for Ilkay Gundogan, who could leave City at the end of the season. Gundogan could yet stay at the Etihad Stadium but it is believed that his demands do not fit City’s philosophy of only handing one-year contracts to players over 30.
Barcelona are said to be willing to offer Gundogan a three-year deal. The 32-year-old has scored four goals in his last two Premier League games.
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