It’s a deal like no other 48 hours ago – Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo has joined Bayern Munich on loan for the rest of the season.
The 28-year-old has been instrumental in the Premier League titles won by Pep Guardiola’s side in the past two seasons but has fallen out of favor and will move to Germany with an option to join permanently for €70m (£61.5m) in the summer.
Portugal defender who moved in 2019 From Juventus for 60 million pounds sterlingHe has played more for City than any other defender this season.
Why was he allowed to leave? How did grace fall? Where does he leave Manchester City? What do critics and fans think?
This is Guardiola flexing his muscles
Cancelo has played 1,866 minutes in all competitions this season – 68 more than Manuel Akanji, City’s second-most-played defender. He’s made 26 appearances and is on track to play a similar level of matches as in the last two seasons – 43 and 52.
However, only 256 minutes have passed since the return of domestic football after the World Cup, where he was knocked out in the first half by Chelsea. His other two matches were losses against Manchester United in the Premier League and Southampton in the Carabao Cup.
His decline coincided with the emergence of 18-year-old Rico Lewis, and the improvement of Nathan Ake’s form.
With no potential replacement in the January window, City will go into the remaining four months of the season with just 19 senior players.
Winger Cole Palmer, 20, and left-back Sergio Gomez, 22, are also included in the figure, with the duo playing just 216 minutes in the Premier League this season. They only have two recognized fullbacks in Lewis and Kyle Walker.
With the Blues still competing on three fronts – five points behind Arsenal in the Premier League and in the last 16 of the Champions League and FA Cup – will this side leave them short for the rest of the season?
exist Cancelo Reports Frustrated by his lack of minutes and arguing with Guardiola, former Blackburn striker Chris Sutton told BBC Radio 5 Live that it was the only reason he understood City would allow the transfer.
Sutton said: “I’m shocked about Joao Cancelo because Oleksandr Zinchenko has been sold and the lack of options Pep Guardiola has in the full-back areas.”
“From the outside it looks like some sort of squabble or row, so why would Pep Guardiola risk it?
“It seems to me that this is Pep Guardiola flexing his muscles. It looks like there was some kind of fallout.
“At this moment in time, Manchester City fans will be thinking ‘wow, we have a lot to do in the Premier League because Arsenal definitely fly’. They might consider Ancelo still their best defender, so this is a real match. Surprise.”
“I wanted to play but I don’t see it as a final exit”
Cancelo addressed the reports in a press conference, stating that the main reason he left was his desire to play more.
“There was speculation that my relationship with Pep [Guardiola] It wasn’t the best, but the truth is that I wanted to play more.”
“I wanted to start this new adventure as soon as possible. I’ve enjoyed my time at City and I’m still under contract with the club so I don’t see it as a final departure.
“Bayern is a great team, one of the best clubs in the world. I know this team lives for trophies and it’s a huge motivation for me now to play alongside these quality players in a team.”
Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said: “Joao is a player we have been thinking about for a while because we highly appreciate his qualities.
“He is the perfect fit in our system with his attacking style of play and dynamism, his mentality and experience a good fit in our squad. I am convinced that Joao will help us in the coming weeks and months as we want to win titles.”
Analysis – Movement showing Guardiola’s courage
Simon Stone, BBC Sport
Pep Guardiola has never hidden the fact that he will not keep an unhappy player and Joao Cancelo is not happy with his limited playing time.
The harsh reality is in a season where City have struggled to find consistency and effectiveness in recent campaigns, Cancelo is one of those who fell short of the required heights.
The arrival of Erling Haaland prompted some tactical adjustments and Cancelo is no longer the force he used to be.
There are question marks over the fitness of John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias, so the move is not without risks.
But Guardiola has led City to four titles in five seasons and, by punishing the move, has shown he is brave enough to make decisions he believes will give the club the best chance of continued success.
What will City lose in the absence of Cancelo?
Cancelo, who signed to compete with Kyle Walker for the right-back spot, has largely been used as a left-back over the past two-and-a-half seasons.
His ability to get into midfield and act as a pivotal double alongside Rodri, while also being able to attack down the flank and cut down and cross the ball, made him an integral part of the way Guardiola positioned his side.
However, a tactical adjustment that sees City often play with three centre-backs to four in defence, allowing one defender – often Rico Luis in recent weeks – to veer into midfield, has limited Cancelo’s involvement.
He has contributed 20 assists to the Premier League since the start of the 2019-20 season, behind only Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (44) and Andrew Robertson (42), and nine goals.
“Strange decision” or “potentially big action” – how social media reacted
dew: Joao Cancelo was an incredibly talented attacking footballer, but I never trusted him defensively. This may be controversial, but I’m not sorry he’s gone.
Graymanuk: Sad to see Joao Cancelo step up – he brings something different to Manchester City and can play left and right. Rico Lewis is promising but he’s still too raw for the big games. At least we didn’t loan Cancelo to Arsenal!
Aaron: Nobody is bigger than the club. For all the criticism of Pep, he is a serial winner and if Cancelo isn’t lifting weight then it’s simply not good enough. Pep requires commitment at a minimum. I have no sympathy for anyone who criticizes Pep’s philosophy.
VC: I’m not a Manchester City fan but it would probably be a great job. Youngster Rico Luis looks a fantastic prospect and €70m in the summer for a 28-year-old full-back would be a very nice fee.
Charlie: It seems a strange decision and some of Pep Guardiola’s team selections, formations and tactics have been a bit unusual in the past few months. But Babe has a lot of credit in the bank, so we just have to trust and hope he’s doing it right.
Sickbigar: Awesome move. Selling your best defender is never going to work, but if he’s had enough of bizarre Pep selections this season, you can’t blame him.