Defender Joao Cancelo is expected to be announced as a Bayern Munich player on loan from Manchester City.
Cancelo flew to Germany on Monday and underwent a medical examination.
The deal is an initial loan with an option to buy the full-back for over £61m (€70m).
Cancelo posted a farewell message on his Instagram page that reads, “Once a Cityzen, always a Cityzen. Thank you.”
The Portugal international has had limited playing time since returning from the World Cup, with Pep Guardiola changing his side’s form.
Cancelo started 36 times for City in the Premier League last season but has had a limited role at City this term and has seen Pep Guardiola change the shape and formation of the team.
His representatives were said to have sparked Bayern’s interest in City and, given the emergence of Rico Lewis and Nathan Ake’s performance at the back, City were willing to allow Cancelo a move.
Why are City letting Cancelo go?
The versatile full-back has been a key part of Guardiola’s squad since joining City from Juventus in a £60m deal in 2019 and helped the side win two league titles Premier League.
However, he appears to have fallen down the pecking order of late and has started just three games since the resumption of top-flight domestic football in December.
With four other senior centre-backs at the club in John Stones, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Manuel Akanji, City believe they have plenty of cover. Changes to the shape of the side didn’t suit Cancelo’s game either.
It now remains to be seen if a deal can be reached before the last day of the transfer window.
Bayern’s typical and opportunistic move
European football expert Kevin Hatchard:
“This deal is very Bayern in some ways. They are very good opportunists. They have the money ready so when this kind of opportunity comes they can move.
“If you look at him, Alphonso Davies is an absolute lock in that left-back position, but do they have huge cover? They’ve brought in Daley Blind in theory to cover him.
“But on the right side it is more complicated because they have Benjamin Pavard, who is not very favorable and has spoken quite openly about a potential departure this summer.
“He didn’t start the game at the weekend against Frankfurt – instead they went with Josip Stanisic, who is a good 22-year-old but happy to be a substitute.
“Noussair Mazraoui, who was brilliant for Morocco at the World Cup, has this problem with pericarditis at the moment, so they are monitoring him and when he comes back, I think they will gently relieve him.
“So having a player of Cancelo’s quality to play that right-back role is a massive improvement for Bayern at the moment. The structure of the deal is great because it’s on loan. world wins.”
Cancelo’s departure marks one of City’s fastest falls from grace
Sky Sports’ Ron Walker:
“Barely half a season since being named the Premier League Team of the Season for the second consecutive year, Joao Cancelo looks set to leave the Etihad.
“He’s not the only player to leave for new pastures after falling out of favor – Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane have gone down this path before – but rarely has it been so sudden.
“His attacking instincts have found him partly to blame for City’s more slippery defense this season, and they are on course for a clean sheets drop of around a quarter in 2021/22.
“It’s only since the World Cup that he’s found himself out of favor with Guardiola, and in that time he’s only made three of their six league appearances.
“Cancelo was sent off at half-time in the 1-0 win at Chelsea but could argue he was knocked out of position in a forward right-winger role at Stamford Bridge – and Guardiola’s tweaked formation won’t certainly did not help him regain his place, nor did another poor performance in the surprise Carabao Cup exit at Southampton.
“Pep and Cancelo’s relationship had a rocky start when he signed for Juventus in 2019, which the two have hinted at since things improved. But Guardiola hinted at another breakup when he mentioned a ‘lack of hunger’ regarding some players who have been left out in recent weeks, with Cancelo seen as one of those in the firing line.
“This sudden development suggests the assumption was correct and presents one of the fastest falls from grace at the Etihad in Pep’s eight years at the helm.
“While that answers that question, it raises others. On paper it certainly leaves City weaker without one of the best defenders in the league over the past two years. So is it a vote of Guardiola’s confidence in Rico Lewis?And Nathan Ake’s new role here to stay?
“This move has elements of a City gamble as they catch up with league leaders Arsenal without one of the league’s best defenders of the past two years. But for a team that won the league playing without a recognized No.9 last season is far from their first.”
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