Manchester City will be on the lookout for a right-back this summer and Sergi Roberto has emerged as a man of interest to Pep Guardiola.
According to a report published by Mundo Deportivo, Manchester City have submitted an enquiry to sign Sergi Roberto from Barcelona as their search for a right-back continues.
Roberto came into view as a fine midfield prospect in 2010, the same year he made his debut under former coach Pep Guardiola, but had to wait an additional three years before being permanently promoted to the first-team. He has since gone on to make over 250 appearances for Barcelona, playing in nearly ten different positions, but mostly as a right-back after being converted by Luis Enrique.
Of his nine goals for the senior team, the 28-year-old is most known for his 95th minute winner against PSG in the famed six-one victory in the quarter-finals of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League. In the same season a few weeks later Roberto made the scintillating solo run that pioneered Lionel Messi’s sensational winner away at Real Madrid.
Roberto’s performances have deteriorated every season and at this point, it is hard to tell which of him and Nelson Semedo is the first-choice right-back at the club, with both of them registering 20+ appearances in the league. They also have the same number of assists – 2, but Roberto trumps the Portuguese in terms of goals (one to zero).
The Spanish international and Guardiola share the same agent, Josep Maria Orobitg, and this could be the catalyst behind this move. However, the report states that Roberto is unwilling to move unless Barca name him on the transfer list.
The right-back spot emerged as an area of problem for City last season when Kyle Walker was not able to replicate the same level from the season before, when Guardiola & co. won the league with a record 100 points.
The club had signed Danilo from Real Madrid in the summer of 2017, and the Brazilian kept rotating with Walker before being traded for Joao Cancelo in the summer prior to the 2019/20 campaign.
Everyone expected Cancelo to fit in seamlessly at City especially after his tremendous 2018/19 season, where he was arguably the best right-back in the continent. However, the 26-year-old has managed to accumulate only 11 appearances under new management, and has no direct goal contribution to show for.
It was initially reported that the Sky Blues are interested in swapping Cancelo with Semedo, but it seems like Guardiola has shifted his attention towards the other right-back at Barcelona. Either of this situation is a win-win deal for Barcelona who are, firstly, headed towards a club overhaul in a desperate attempt to muster up funds for big-money transfers like that of Lautaro Martinez.
Secondly, the Blaugrana will be in the market for a new right-back anyway, and Cancelo could be the player they might need: an attacking full-back, who is a brilliant crosser, passer and can play further up the pitch if need be.
It will be interesting to see how this story of a potential reunion between Roberto and Guardiola pans out over the next few months.