This week, it’s emerged that reigning Premier League champions Manchester City want to sign centre-back Mika Marmol from Las Palmas, and then loan to him to Girona, as they try to take full advantage of the City Football Group network once again.
Brazilian winger Savio, owned by Troyes but playing his football at Girona this season, has become one of the CFG’s biggest success stories so far, with Pep Guardiola’s side now set to sign him after agreeing a deal.
Back in 2018, City tried to sign defender Pau Cubarsi from the Girona academy, but it was Barcelona who won the race. Six years on, Cubarsi has made a breakthrough at Camp Nou, and City are going after him again.
City determined to sign Cubarsi at second time of asking
According to journalist Xavier Bosch, writing in a column for Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo (via Sport Witness), City will now reignite their interest in Cubarsi. They had “practically” completed a deal in 2018, only for Barcelona assistant manager Oscar Hernandez to speak to the player personally and convince him to join La Masia.
Bosch says he doesn’t like the news “at all” because he doesn’t feel that City CEO Ferran Soriano, the vice-president of Barcelona from 2003 to 2008, and sporting director Txiki Begiristain, who worked at Camp Nou, should be poaching young talents from the club.
Puyol comparison shows Barcelona hype
From City’s perspective, the quality of the player is clearly what matters most. Cubarsi made his debut for the senior team away to Unionistas CF in the Copa del Rey on 18th January, playing the second half, and then received a full debut against Real Betis in La Liga just before he turned 17.
Man City seriously eyeing ‘magician’ as Begiristain told to pay club-record fee
The player is secretly open to a move, but it will take an enormous outlay.
As you can see below, Cubarsi put up some impressive numbers on his first full outing, particularly in possession, and he’s started two of Barcelona’s three league games since. Alongside 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, he’s broken into one of the world’s biggest teams at a remarkably young age.
Pau Cubarsi stats vs Real Betis
Accurate long balls
Long ball accuracy
The defender is inevitably generating huge excitement in and around the club, with his former under-13 coach, Albert Puig, going as far as to liken him to former Blaugrana centre-back Carles Puyol.
He said: “He’s brilliant at anticipating and reading the game, and goes into every duel with full power. He is aggressive because he loves it. Pau has the heart of a defender and would give everything to block a shot or intercept a pass. In that regard, you could compare him to Carles Puyol.”
It’s incredibly early to be even mentioning him in the same breath as Puyol, of course, but you already get the sense Barcelona will be absolutely desperate to hold onto Cubarsi and ensure he’s one of the players they can potentially build around going forward.