Frenkie de Jong is among the names that Barcelona could offer to secure Raheem Sterling in a swap deal, according to reports.
Sterling’s future has been up in the air since reports suggested he was one of the names on City’s chopping block in the summer, and Barcelona are the latest suitors for his signature.
The Kingston-born forward started in City’s disappointing 0-0 draw with Southampton and looked to have scored the winning goal before his effort was correctly ruled out for offside. With Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne returning to full fitness, Sterling could find his gametime restricted further as Pep Guardiola will be encouraged to reinstall his stars into the starting lineup.
According to Sport, Sterling is interested in moving to Barcelona in January as he looks to reignite his club career. Undoubtedly, Barcelona will be looking to sign the England international on the cheap due to their significant financial issues, and The Express have identified four names that could be involved in a swap deal.
The Express highlighted Ousmane Dembele, Riqui Puig and Sergi Roberto as potential makeweights in a permanent deal. Still, the most enticing name for City fans will be Frenkie De Jong, who City’s transfer chiefs attempted to sign before he switched from Ajax to the Catalan capital in 2019.
De Jong was City’s first option at the base of midfield before Txiki Begiristain settled on Rodri, who was bought in the same summer. De Jong is one of Europe’s outstanding midfield players and would provide the perfect competition for Rodri in an area Guardiola will need to strengthen next summer as Fernandinho prepares to depart.
While City would undoubtedly entertain De Jong offers, it seems unlikely that Barcelona President Joan Laporta will make their midfield star available for transfer.
Even accounting for their dire financial situation, De Jong was placed on a four-person list, including Pedri, Ansu Fati and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, that Barcelona were unwilling to sell at any cost. Unless their situation has changed within the intervening months, City should not expect to see the 24-year-old’s name brought up in discussions.
Elsewhere, former City defender Michael Ball has admitted he expects his former side to move for Erling Haaland next summer.
Ball suggested City might have an easier time getting Haaland out of his club than they had with Harry Kane, who was forced to stay by Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy.
“We know his relationship with Manchester City with his father. You know, he is a Man City fan,” the retired full-back said to TIF when discussing Haaland’s future. “I don’t think Manchester City will want to lose out.
“Man City could press the button and bring him in as a more long-term striker for the future.”
Haaland has a release clause set to activate next season with the fee required believed to be in the region of £75million. If City could pull off a deal for the Norwegian striker, they will have sorted their striker issues for at least the forthcoming decade.