Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has made Manchester City forward Ferran Torres his top target to replace striker Sergio Aguero ahead of the January transfer window.
Xavi’s “number one goal” is to sign the 21-year-old who is the player chosen to take over from the Argentine, as reported by Diario Sport. The Barca coach wants a forward who can make an immediate impact and prefers Torres “to the other options that have been presented to him.”
Barcelona have already reached an agreement with the Spain international and “the feeling is that he will end up” playing for the Catalans. However, Barca still need to agree a deal with Manchester City.
Talks between the clubs are continuing with the Citizens having asked for €50 million. City are “inflexible” when it comes to the price but are “open to exploring different payment methods.”
Barcelona’s “main obstacle” is the club’s wage bill which needs to be reduced to make room for Torres. Selling Philippe Coutinho is one option that would make the deal possible, while renewing Ousmane Dembele’s contract (on a lower salary) is also an option.
Torres joined Manchester City on a five-year deal from Valencia in summer 2020. The youngster scored 13 goals in 36 games in his first season, winning the Premier League and the League Cup.
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Aguero Relinquishes Barcelona Contract
Xavi needs a replacement for Aguero as the Argentine has been forced to retire at the age of just 33 due to cardiac issues. The striker confirmed his decision to hang up his boots at a news conference on Wednesday, December 15, as reported by BBC Sport.
“This conference is to communicate that I have decided to stop playing football. It’s a very difficult moment,” he said. “When they did the first physical test on me in the clinic, the medical staff called me to tell me there was a very big possibility that I wouldn’t be able to keep playing. From that point I was processing it all but it wasn’t easy. One of the doctors told me straight up, ‘that’s enough’.”
Aguero signed a two-year deal with Barca in summer 2021 but has “renounced the second year of his contract” and “the money he gets from the liquidation of his contract comes from this season’s salary,” according to Sport.
Cardiologist Explains Aguero Retirement
Meanwhile, Aguero’s cardiologist has offered an explanation as to why the Argentine has been forced to retire from the game. Roberto Peidro also dismissed suggestions the forward’s cardiac issues were related to Covid-19, as reported by Marca.
“What was done with a catheter was to burn that area where the arrhythmias derived from. We believe that it will work very well and will solve the problem, but our advice is not to do high-performance sports that involve a significant degree of physical and mental stress for several hours a day,” he said. “Most likely, the small scar found is produced by a virus that he suffered from at some point in his life and it was never detected, but it has nothing to do with COVID-19 or with the vaccine itself. I was very anxious and when I saw the results of the test, the first thing I said was: ‘If you were my son, I would recommend that you go this way.’ He could probably keep playing and arrhythmias may never happen again, but we can’t be sure.”
Aguero’s retirement comes at a time when Xavi is struggling for attacking options, as Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati, and Martin Braithwaite are all currently sidelined and unavailable for selection.