Defender Joao Cancelo will be announced as a Bayern Munich player on loan from Manchester City.
Cancelo flew to Germany on Monday and underwent a medical.
The deal is an initial loan with an option to buy the full-back for more than £61m (€70m).
Cancelo posted a farewell message on his Instagram page that read: “Once a Cityzen, always a Cityzen. Thank you.”
The Portugal international has had limited playing time since returning from the World Cup as Pep Guardiola reshuffled his squad.
Cancelo started 36 times for City in the Premier League last season but has had a limited role at City this season and has seen Pep Guardiola change the shape and formation of the team.
His representatives are believed to have brought interest from Bayern to City and given the emergence of Rico Luiz and Nathan Ake’s introduction at full-back, City were prepared to allow Cancelo to move.
Why are City releasing Cancelo?
The versatile full-back has been a key part of Guardiola’s squad since joining City from Juventus in a £60million deal in 2019 and has helped the team win two Premier League titles.
However, he seems to have fallen off the charts recently and has started just three games since top-flight domestic football resumed in December.
With four other senior centre-backs at the club – John Stones, Ruben Diaz, Aymeric Laporte and Manuel Akanji – City feel they have enough cover. The changes in the country’s shape didn’t suit Cancelo’s game either.
It now remains to be seen whether the deal can be pushed through before the final day of the transfer window.
A typical, opportunistic move by Bayern
European football expert Kevin Hatchard:
“This deal is very good for Bayern in some ways. They are really good opportunists. They have prepared the money so that when the opportunity arises, they can move.
“If you look at it, Alphonso Davies is absolutely key in that left-back position, but do they have a huge amount of cover? They brought in Daley Blind in theory to cover for him.
“But on the right-hand side it’s more complicated as they have Benjamin Pavard who is not particularly favored and has been quite open about a possible summer move.
“He didn’t start the weekend game against Frankfurt – instead they went with Josip Stanisic, who is 22, a good player but happy to be a substitute.
“Noussar Mazraoui, who was brilliant for Morocco at the World Cup, has a pericarditis problem at the moment so they are keeping an eye on him and when he comes back I think they will ease him carefully.
“So to have a player of Cancelo’s quality to come in and play the right-back role is a huge improvement for Bayern at the moment. The structure of the deal is great as it is a rental. Everyone wins.”
Cancelo’s departure marks one of City’s quickest falls from grace
Sky Sports’ Ron Walker:
“Just half a season since being named in the Premier League’s Team of the Season for the second year in a row, Joao Cancelo looks set to leave the Etihad.
“He’s not the only player to leave after falling out of favor – Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane have gone down that path before – but it’s rarely been so sudden.
“His attacking instincts have found him partly to blame for City’s more leaky defense this season and they are on course to cut clean sheets by around a quarter in 2021/22.”
“It wasn’t until the World Cup that he fell out of favor with Guardiola and in that time he featured in just three of their six league games.
“Cancelo was taken off at half-time in the 1-0 win against Chelsea, but he was arguably played out of position in an advanced right-wing role at Stamford Bridge – and Guardiola’s tweaked formation certainly didn’t help him regain his place . Nor another poor performance in Southampton’s surprise Carabao Cup exit.
“Pep and Cancelo’s relationship had a shaky start when he signed from Juventus in 2019, which they both alluded to as things improved. But Guardiola hinted at another rift when he mentioned a “lack of hunger” regarding certain players who have been dropped in recent weeks, with Cancelo seen as one of those in the firing line.
“This sudden development suggests the assumption was correct and represents one of the fastest falls from grace at the Etihad in Pep’s eight years in charge.
“While it answers this question, it raises others. On paper, it certainly leaves City weaker without one of the best defenders in the league for the past two years. So is this a vote of confidence from Guardiola to Rico Luis? And is Nathan Ake’s new role here to stay?
“This move has elements of a gamble on City’s part as they are playing catch up to league leaders Arsenal without one of the best defenders in the league for the last two years. But for a team that won the league playing without a recognized No.9 last season, it’s far from their first.”
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