Barcelona have reportedly turned down a €35 million bid from Manchester City for Sergi Roberto, with Ernesto Valverde keen to keep the player.
Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo have reported that Sergi Roberto is the subject of interest from Manchester City, who have tabled a €35 million bid for him. However, Barcelona have rebuffed the approach by informing the Citizens that the Spaniard is not on sale.
Sergi Roberto joined Barcelona’s youth setup as a 14-year-old in 2006, rapidly progressing through the ranks to make his first-team debut in 2010. The player, though, remained with the Catalan club’s B-team till 2013, when he finally managed to become a regular component in the first-team setup at Camp Nou.
Since then, Roberto has proven to be an asset for the Blaugrana, especially with his versatility. Although the 25-year-old is a central midfielder, he has also been deployed as a right-back by Barcelona. The player was, in fact, the first-choice right-back in the 2016/17 season in Luis Enrique’s side ahead of Aleix Vidal.
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In all, Roberto made 47 appearances across all competitions for Barcelona in the recently concluded season while also contributing to his team’s cause with a goal and 6 assists. But while he managed to be largely impressive in the makeshift role, the player also got found out in terms of positioning due to a distinct lack of pace.
Barcelona have, thus, made it a priority to sign a right-back this summer, with Hector Bellerin being their top target. However, even though Roberto is unlikely to be the first-choice right-back next season, Ernesto Valverde is adamant that the player will be a key player in his squad next season – as a midfielder.
And thus, Manchester City have faced disappointment in their pursuit of the Spain international, with Barcelona immediately rebuffing the Citizens. Pep Guardiola has been active in the transfer market having already completed the moves for Bernardo Silva and Ederson Moraes.
The Man City boss, though, is keen to make further improvements in his side, with defence and central midfield believed to be the next priorities. At the centre of the park, Guardiola is a little light on reliable options, with Fernando and Fabian Delph struggling for form, while Ilkay Gundogan is recovering from a long-term knee injury.
2016/17 provided an indication that age has caught up with Yaya Toure, leaving Guardiola with Fernandinho as his only recognised option. Thus, Roberto was a viable target, who could have also been a solution on the right side of defence if the former Barcelona manager failed to land his priority targets.
However, City’s €35 million has been rejected, with Barcelona maintaining their firm transfer stance on Roberto. The report also suggests that there are no guarantees that Barcelona will be able to land their priority right-back targets, making the 25-year-old a vital component in Valverde’s squad.