Portuguese international joins Bundesliga outfit after rumoured fall-out with Guardiola
The transfer window closed at 11pm on Tuesday evening, after a record spend of £815m from Premier League clubs. Chelsea were comfortably the biggest spenders, as Todd Boehly’s haphazard recruitment policy continued unabated.
Enzo Fernandez joined the Stamford Bridge outfit for a British record fee of £107m from Benfica – just six months after the Portuguese club had signed him for €44m from River Plate. Joao Felix arrived on loan from Atletico Madrid, whilst Mykhailo Mudryk joined in a £88m deal.
Boehly has now spent a staggering £558m on 17 players since taking over the club from Roman Abramovich, and seems unconcerned about any potential FFP penalties.
City, meanwhile, had a relatively quiet month in terms of incomings, with Maximo Perrone the only addition, joining the club from Maximo Selsfield for £8.2m. The Argentinian under-20 international has signed a five-and-a-half year contract and will train with Pep Guardiola’s squad for the remainder of the season, before a decision is made on his longer-term future.
Ex-Blues legend Sergio Aguero has predicted a bright future for his fellow countryman, saying: "There are many other players from Argentina that will show their worth soon. Brighton signing [Facundo] Buonanotte, Maximo Perrone arriving to my dear Manchester City. There's a new generation that is adding a lot to the Premier League and in numbers not seen before."
There were unconfirmed rumours that City had attempted to sign Leicester City’s James Maddison on loan on the final day of the window, but no deal was forthcoming. It’s believed that the player may still be on City’s radar in the summer, with the squad facing something of an overhaul. The likes of Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Aymerica Laporte have all been linked with moves abroad at the end of the season.
City rarely make big signings in January, so their relative inaction came as little surprise to most fans. The departure of full-back Joao Cancelo, however, was something of a shock. The Portuguese full-back has joined Bayern Munich on loan until the end of the season, and the Bundesliga club have an option to make the deal permanent for around £60m in the summer.
Cancelo joined the Blues in 2019 from Juventus, in a swap deal that saw Brazilian international Danilo head to Turin. He endured a difficult start to his City career, but came into his own the following season and became an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s side. Equally comfortable operating at either left-back or right-back, he was named in the Premier League Team of the Year for the past two seasons.
However, his relationship with Guardiola had clearly become strained in recent weeks, with the 29 year-old firmly out of favour. There were reports of a training ground bust-up, and rumours that Cancelo has become a disruptive presence in the dressing room.
It remains to be seen whether or not Cancelo’s departure will affect City’s chances of silverware this season. They remain amongst the favourites to lift the Champions League with many bookmakers, as you can see at BettingLounge.
A somewhat terse statement on the club website announced his departure:
"Joao Cancelo has joined Bayern Munich on loan until the end of the season.
The 28-year-old joined City from Juventus in 2019, following spells in Spain and his native Portugal.
The Portuguese has now moved to Germany to join the Bundesliga outfit for the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign."
The player himself, however, sought to play down his departure, insisting that he wanted to play more frequently and leaving the door open for a potential return to The Etihad:
"There was speculation that my relationship with Pep [Guardiola] was not the best, but the fact is I wanted to play more," Cancelo said.
"I wanted to start this new adventure as soon as possible. I enjoyed my time at City and I am still under contract with the club so I don't see it as a final departure.
"Bayern is a great club, one of the best in the world. I know this team lives for titles and it's enormous motivation for me to now play alongside these extraordinary players in a team."