Ferran Torres’ imminent Barcelona move shows Man City have learned their transfer lesson – Joe Bray

A flurry of reports in Spain on Wednesday all pointed towards one thing – Ferran Torres is on the verge of a transfer to Barcelona.

The Manchester City winger, signed for a bargain £20m in 2020, wants to join Barca and the club are open to allowing that if the right fee is received.

On one hand, that could be seen as City shooting themselves in the foot, with Torres their only player close to a natural striker, who has another three and a half years on his contract, and with the potential to become better and better.

However, if Torres has expressed a desire to return to Spain, where he has recently broken through into the national team, and doesn’t want to be in Manchester, then that hands City a decision to make.

They could either dig their heels in, and keep a potentially unhappy player for longer than he wants to be at the club. That would risk a downturn in performances and morale that could in turn affect others.

Look at Eric Garcia, who told City he wouldn’t sign a new contract and was barely involved in his last season at the club. City opted to keep him as Barcelona wouldn’t meet their asking price, and accepted he would leave on a free at the end of the season. In hindsight, he wasn’t needed as much as they thought, and they may have regretted not taking £18m for the centre-back when it was offered.

Leroy Sane was another case, where he made it clear he wanted to leave and wouldn’t sign a contract. City resisted a sale to Bayern Munich, and were unlucky when Sane suffered a long-term injury that stopped him playing for the majority of the season. After that, with a year left on his contract, a sale was the only choice.

City held to their guns with Bernardo Silva in the summer, accepting he wanted to move on, but didn’t receive any acceptable offers.

Bernardo is the exception to the three examples, as he’s been welcomed back into the team and performed at a world-class level this season. It’s the kind of impact Sane could have had before joining Bayern.

Now, with Torres looking to leave, City have decided to let him go sooner, rather than later. They should still generate an impressive £25-30m profit in the space of a year-and-a-half, and can use that to reinvest in a striker in the summer when players like Erling Haaland or Harry Kane could cost over £100m.

The first option would clearly be keeping Torres, and reaping the benefits from his rapid rise in 2021. But football doesn’t work like that, and City appear to have made a sensible decision in sanctioning a transfer that suits all parties.

The next time a player tells the club they want to leave, they will do so knowing it will be on the club’s terms, not theirs.

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