Sunday 20 August 2017

City keen to formalise links with La Liga side Girona

Manchester City have denied that they will be buying Girona jointly with Media Base Sports. Photo: PA
Manchester City have denied that they will be buying Girona jointly with Media Base Sports. Photo: PA

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City are working to bring Girona FC into the City Football Group (CFG).

Girona have just been promoted to the Spanish top flight for the first time in their history and have enjoyed close ties with Manchester City for years.

City have been keen to formalise those ties since last year. Reports in Spain said that a deal has already been completed, but City are insisting that nothing has been finalised yet.

City also denied that they would be buying Girona jointly with Media Base Sports, Pere Guardiola's agency. Pep's brother has been a senior adviser to the Spanish club over recent years.

Two of City's young players spent part of last season on loan with Girona, which will be an even more attractive destination now that they will be playing in La Liga.

CFG, who already had clubs in Australia and the USA, bought Uruguayan second division side Club Atletico Torque in early April, giving them their first outpost in Latin America, and they have since agreed a partnership with Venezuelan side Atletico Venezuela.

Furious

Meanwhile, Barcelona are furious with legendary former club captain Carles Puyol after a player he represents, Eric Garcia, decided to walk away from the club to join Manchester City.

Garcia, a 16-year-old central defender, was considered one of La Masia's best young talents.

Puyol, who has set up an agency with former Espanyol and Spain midfielder Ivan de la Pena, had already raided Barcelona for Marc Bartra, who has joined Borussia Dortmund.

It represents another blow for Barca, for whom it has proven very costly to lose their academy's best young players.

Cesc Fabregas walked away from La Masia in 2003 for free only to be bought back for €35m eight years later.

Hector Bellerín took the same path as Fabregas, joining Arsenal, and Barcelona's sporting director Robert Fernandez is currently trying to negotiate a €45m deal for him to return to Catalunya.

Barca have been unable to stop the talent drain, with a number of promising players deciding the pipeline from youth academy to first-team football had dried up.

Mauro Icardi has been a revelation in Serie A, where he finished as top scorer at 22; Balde Keita, now of Lazio, is considering €40m offers; Alex Grimaldo went to Benfica and will, in time, probably be sold for more than ten times the nominal fee Barcelona received when he left the club.

Only last week, teenage winger Jordi Mboula continued the trend, joining Monaco for just €3m, while Carles Alena - another Puyol client - is being linked with Tottenham. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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