After a month of intense speculation, Ferran Torres left Manchester City for Barcelona on Tuesday.
The £ 46.7m deal, which could rise to £ 55.2m with additions, brought a sudden and unexpected end to Ferr’s short career at City. The 21-year-old Spaniard first joined Pep Guardiola’s team in the summer of 2020, and after spending a season finding his feet, he had looked promising as a striker.
From the outside, it seems like a strange thing to sell a talented young player. But when Ferran’s desire to leave was clear and Barca had put a serious offer on the table, City would never stand in his way. The move suited the player and City have doubled their money on a striker they spent £ 20.7 million on just 18 months ago. Everyone wins, right?
The initial fee has led some to accuse City of letting Barca off the hook, as they did with Bayern Munich when Leroy Sane left in 2020.
Only time will tell who got the best end of the deal. Still, Guardiola and Txiki Begiristain, the latter City’s football director and both men with Barca in their hearts, will be fully aware that the sale of Ferran has strengthened a direct European rival.
Barca may be out for a tough period at the moment as they disappear 18 points from the top of the LaLiga and prepare for a Europa League play-off after being relegated from the Champions League.
But in Ferran, Xavi’s side has added another jewel to a magnificent crown of young talents who in a few years could directly compete with City in Europe’s leading club competition.
From the ashes of a crisis-ridden year when Lionel Messi left Barca, new life has emerged at Camp Nou. Partly due to the sale of senior players, injuries and the fact that they are extremely talented, a host of youngsters from the club’s famous La Masia academy have been integrated into the first-team line-up.
Over the last few years, Ansu Fati has amazed football fans with his calmness, skill and robustness, despite the fact that he is still only 19 years old. Once he has overcome his long-term injuries, he has the potential to become the best in the world.
This season has seen the sudden appearance of Gavi, Nico Gonzalez and Abde Ezzalzouli, midfielders who look like they have been playing on the first team for years.
Stars have been brought in to complement those who grew up in La Masia. Pedri was the breakout star in world football last season, a fact recognized by him who won the Golden Boy Award in 2021. The initial fee Barcelona paid to Las Palmas of € 5 million.
Ferran, told by Xavi that he was the only player he really wanted to pick up, will be the center of Barca’s rebuilding project. There are still a lot of problems to be solved before anyone at the Camp Nou can even think of winning the Champions League, but the speed with which the regeneration of an aging, stagnant squad is happening should be something that worries City.
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City will obviously freshen up their own team with time – people like Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan are all the ‘wrong side’ of 30.
But five years later, whether Guardiola is still at the Etihad Stadium or not, it may be his former employers, his heart club, that are City’s biggest obstacle in their quest for European dominance.
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