Barcelona have today accepted a bid of €25 million (£21.7 million) from Manchester City for goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, Catalan newspaper SPORT is reporting.
The goalkeeper City had originally wanted, Marc-André ter Stegen, has won the battle for the gloves at Barcelona and 33-year-old Bravo, who has been the club’s first-choice goalkeeper since his €12 million move from Real Sociedad in 2014, is heading to Manchester.
Chile international Bravo will fly to Manchester on Thursday to sign a four-year deal, SPORT claims, though the story adds that he will return to Spain and feature in Barcelona’s opening league game against Betis, because Ter Stegen is currently injured. Bravo also started and kept a clean sheet in Barca’s 2-0 Supercopa de España win over Sevilla last night.
The arrival of Bravo could mean the end of Joe Hart, who is being heavily linked with a move to Everton. Hart could also decide to stay and fight for his place yet, but on paper Bravo possesses a skill set more suited to the style of football Guardiola has introduced at the Etihad.
The Hart situation has torn City fans on social media, with many unhappy that such an iconic player, who has given a decade of his career to the club, appears to have been cast aside by Pep. Others point to Guardiola’s history of ditching big names against the wishes of fans, including Ronaldinho at Barcelona, in order to construct a team suited to his successful football philosophy.
22:50 UPDATE: Spanish newspaper Marca is also reporting a deal is close, but for a much lower fee. They claim that City will pay an initial €16 million (£13.9 million) with an additional €4 million (£3.5 million) in add-ons.