Ferran Torres was unlucky to be hit by Covid and injury during his two best spells at City… but Pep Guardiola never fully backed him and he didn’t appear settled in Manchester, so a £55m move to Barcelona makes sense for all parties
- Ferran Torres is set to join Barcelona from Man City in a deal rising to £55m
- The 21-year-old Spain forward only joined City from Valencia in August 2020
- He has scored 13 in 36 but Covid and injury have limited his opportunities
- Torres has not fully settled in Manchester so a return to Spain suits everyone
Pep Guardiola has always said that he will not stand in the way of players who want to leave Manchester City, provided the offer is right, so Ferran Torres’ impending move to Barcelona makes perfect sense for all involved.
Provided Barca can rearrange their finances sufficiently to satisfy LaLiga’s new salary cap rules, the 21-year-old forward will return to Spain in January barely 18 months after he signed for City from Valencia in a £21million deal.
The fee Barca have agreed with City could eventually rise to £55m, so it’s a financial win for the Premier League champions, who could get to nearly treble their money.
But if there’s one thing City don’t need it is financial wins. They are one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, so Torres’ departure represents a failure on two counts. A failure by the player to convince the club they shouldn’t sell him, and a failure by the club to convince Torres his future lies at City.
Pep Guardiola issues instructions to Ferran Torres during his debut campaign at Man City
First to the player. While Torres has shown flashes of his ability, a combination of Covid, injury and the form of others mean he never quite nailed down a starting place under Guardiola.
After understandably taking a bit of time to settle at the start of his debut season, Torres hit a good run of form from late October leading up to Christmas, netting six times in 15 matches.
Then, Covid struck at the worst possible time, seeing the youngster miss nearly a month of action after Boxing Day as City began their 21-match winning streak which ultimately led to them lifting the title.
Torres returned in late January but had to settle for a bit-part role for the remainder of the campaign, though his final tally of 13 goals from 36 matches represented good work for debut season.
One thing to come from last season, and Guardiola must take some credit for this, was Torres’ emergence as a goalscorer. Having only scored nine in 97 matches for Valencia, his composure in front of goal for City – including a hat-trick at Newcastle in May – led to Spain boss Luis Enrique trying him out in a central striking role.
Torres excelled for his country in that position at the Euros and the Nations League finals in October, where a well-taken double knocked out European champions Italy at the semi-final stage. That, however, remains Torres’ last match after he suffered a foot injury in the second half, just when the door looked open for him to become City’s centre forward with Sergio Aguero gone and Harry Kane still at Tottenham.
Torres has emerged as Spain’s first-choice centre forward this year after a flurry of goals
Once again, City have gone on a strong run in his absence, perhaps convincing Guardiola that a £32m profit in 18 months is good business when he has Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus on the books.
It is probably therefore not so much what Torres has shown in a City shirt that has convinced the club to sell him, but more what City have managed to do without him. For all of his ability and potential, he has never become integral to how they play.
Could City and Guardiola have done more to get the best out of Torres? Yes. Guardiola compared Torres’ finishing to Jamie Vardy as he started the first six matches of the season as a centre forward, but then promptly left him out of his next five starting line-ups to leave the youngster miffed.
The Spaniard’s last goal and last start for City came in the 6-1 Carabao Cup win over Wycombe
Though a different type of player, the £100m arrival of Grealish pushed Torres further down the pecking order, with Guardiola using Foden as a false nine to accomodate his new signing on the left.
Meanwhile, with Pep going all in on England fans’ favourite Grealish, Torres was winning admirers in Spain for his performances for Enrique and could have been forgiven for dreaming of a return home as the English winter began to bite.
Coming from Valencia, it is fair to say Torres did not fall in love with Manchester and was rarely seen outside of his city centre apartment. For a 21-year-old living away from home during a pandemic, the chance to return to his country to a club the size of Barcelona is an offer too good to refuse.
Torres has improved as a player under Guardiola, City will make a massive profit and Barcelona get an exciting young forward with his whole career ahead of him. Everyone’s a winner.
Barcelona manager Xavi will be delighted if he can land a player of Torres’ calibre and potential