Barcelona made a move to sign Spain striker Ferran Torres, but talks with Manchester City have so far proven to have failed, sources told ESPN.
New coach Xavi Hernandez wants to add another attacking player to his squad in January, with ESPN reporting last week that Barcelona have also surveyed City’s Raheem Sterling and Chelsea, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
Barcelona also made Torres one of their primary targets, having monitored him since he first broke through at Valencia. The club believes that his experience in La Liga will facilitate the process of adaptation.
– La Liga on ESPN+: Streaming live games and replays (US only)
Football Misery Index: What is left for Barcelona after Messi’s exit?
Notebook: Premier League clubs look to Araujo Barcelona
Director of football Matteo Alemani and chief executive Ferran Riverter were in Manchester on Friday to meet with City to discuss a move.
Sources told ESPN City’s initial response was that they were reluctant to part with Torres, who is expected to return from injury at the end of the year.
It is understood that Torres, 21, is open to a return to Spain, and sources added that City could open the door to an exit if they express a desire to leave.
However, they will demand more than €40m for the player they initially signed for €23m from Valencia in 2020.
Barcelona’s financial situation is likely to hamper any negotiations. The club’s total debt is more than 1 billion euros, and Alemani recently said they are not in a position to sign new players in January while sticking to LaLiga’s salary cap.
The Catalan club continues to work on reducing his salary bill, as Lionel Messi moved to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer while Antoine Griezmann returned to Atletico Madrid on loan in the summer. Barcelona are also looking to bring in new sponsors to give them some wiggle room going forward.
The sources added that reaching an agreement with City would remain difficult, though, even if Barcelona found a way to extinguish any potential fees during the term of Torres’ contract.
Sources have told ESPN that there has been a move by Torres behind the scenes for several months. Barcelona started moving for the first time in the summer.
Alemani previously worked in Valencia, where he built a good relationship with Torres and his clients, laying the groundwork for this week’s talks.
And Xavi, the new coach of Barcelona, supported the move. He is keen to add another striker to the squad in January and Torres, who can play wide or through midfield, is seen as the perfect fit.
Torres scored 16 goals in 43 games with City and 12 goals in 22 games with Spain.