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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has reportedly turned down the opportunity to pursue a deal for Barcelona star Ansu Fati in fear of hurting his former side. The Barca youngster is supposedly in the process of negotiating a new deal with his cash-strapped side and the threat of a move away could pressure them to put more money on the table.
Fati has been side-lined for 10 months with a serious injury, but is now working his way back to match fitness.
He took the Barca team by storm since first appearing as a 16-year-old, becoming the second youngest debutant in their history.
In a huge vote of confidence from boss Ronaldo Koeman, he was given the prestigious No 10 jersey after Lionel Messi’s emotional departure earlier this summer.
Upon returning to action, Fati will sport the number worn by legends like Ronaldinho, Juan Roman Riquelme and Rivaldo.
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A report from ElNacional claims that the player has been offered to City by his agent, Jorge Mendes, although it could merely be a ploy to get him a bigger contract at Barca.
In response, Guardiola supposedly told City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, not to pursue talks.
The Blues boss spent over a decade playing for Barcelona and four years as manager of the first-team during one of the most successful spells in their history.
He has always maintained a loving relationship with the Catalan side, as well as a solid working friendship with current club President Joan Laporta.
City’s pursuit of Fati would have hurt Barca in a number of ways.
Firstly, if they managed to offer him a lucrative contract that tempted him to the Etihad, they would be taking away one of the club’s brightest young talents who could well be central to their future.
Alternatively, their interest could merely serve as the leverage Fati and Mendes need to secure a bigger contract at the Camp Nou.
Barca’s financial woes have been well-publicised this summer, leaving them forced to offload Messi and Antoine Griezmann, although they are still in around £1billion worth of debt.
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The reaction from City fans will be interesting to observe, given Guardiola has seemingly put the interests of his former side above his current one if reports are to be believed.
Fati has the potential to become a global megastar, never mind the fact that City have started the season with something of a botched attack.
Either way, Guardiola remains unwilling to kick his former side while they are down, and based on the chaotic events of the past few months, down is where they stay for now.
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