The Barcelona Influence On Manchester City Transfer Strategy – Good? Bad?

Manchester City Transfer Strategy

Given the distinctly Catalan flavour inside Manchester City's transfer war room, it should come as no surprise to see elements of Barcelona's strategy creeping in.

The recruitment of director of football Txiki Begiristain and CEO Ferran Soriano was the start of the Barcelona influence at the Etihad, with Pep Guardiola's arrival as boss completing the Nou Camp reunion in Manchester.

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While Begiristain, Soriano and Guardiola were never going to completely import the methods that made Barcelona the best team in Europe on their watch, there were always going to be bits of Barca's strategy that were transferable to City.

In the impending return to the Etihad of Angelino, we are seeing a transfer move that used to be the preserve of Barcelona.

The Spain under-21 international left City last summer to sign for PSV Eindhoven, but the Blues inserted a buy-back clause and they will have to pay just £5.35million to sign him after a fine campaign in the Eredivisie.

With Guardiola having concerns over the left-back position and the long-term fitness of Benjamin Mendy, re-signing a player he knows all about, who has enjoyed an excellent season at a high level, for a relatively low fee, makes perfect sense.

Inserting buy-back clauses into deals to sell players remains a relatively underused tactic amongst Premier League clubs, but City are using it more regularly as a result of that Barcelona influence.

The La Liga giants have been prolific users of buy-back clauses over the years, regularly allowing La Masia graduates to leave on the proviso that they had the option to bring them back at a set fee, should they impress elsewhere.

It became an understandable practice at Barcelona, given the number of youngsters coming through the ranks at La Masia and the fact that so many would struggle to get a look-in at first-team level.

By putting a buy-back clause into the deal the club were protecting themselves on the chance they got it wrong about that particular player.

Barcelona have activated buy-back clauses a couple of times in recent years.

They sold Gerard Deulofeu to Everton in 2014 but inserted an option to buy him back from the Toffees for around double the €6million the Goodison Park outfit paid.

When Deulofeu impressed for Everton and Barcelona needed cover in the attack, they took up that clause.

It was a similar story when Denis Suarez left the Nou Camp for Villareal in the summer of 2015.

A buy-back clause of just €3.25million was inserted and after one good season in La Liga he was back at Barcelona for a relative pittance.

Like Barcelona, City have begun to make a considerable profit on selling academy stars in the past couple of seasons.

With Guardiola's first team so difficult to break into the reality is that many of those who came through the ranks with the Blues will end up leaving, but some will go on to prove the club got it wrong.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Brahim Diaz, Angus Gunn, Pablo Maffeo, Rony Lopes, Karim Rekik, Jason Denayer, Jadon Sancho and Enes Unal have all been sold for good money recently, with Diaz and Sancho both departing despite City wanting them to stay.

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How many of those deals saw buy-back clauses inserted is unclear, but the decision to make a move to bring Angelino back and the ease with which it can be completed suggests it's a practice City are beginning to utilise more often.

(Manchester Evening News)

This article was most recently revised and updated 4 years ago

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