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That’s according to Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star Sunday, who cited “sources in Italy” that said Can is eager to work with manager Pep Guardiola. The City boss reportedly sees the Germany international as the ideal replacement for veteran midfielder Yaya Toure. Calciomercato.com’s Nicola Balice and Nima Tavallaey previously made similar claims.
Can’s contract will run out in the summer and negotiations regarding a new deal have been ongoing for months. Those negotiations appear to be headed nowhere, however, per Neil Jones of the Liverpool Echo (via AnfieldHQ):
Anfield HQ @AnfieldHQ
The ECHO’s understanding is that concerns over Emre Can’s role in the side, coupled with his desire to insert a release clause into the contract, are significant obstacles to overcome in negotiations over a new deal. (Neil Jones – Echo)
The 23-year-old has been linked at length with Juventus during that time, with the Italian press insisting the Bianconeri have him near the top of their wishlist. The Italian champions are known for their ability to land free agents, adding numerous players on such deals in the past few years.
That’s bad news for Liverpool, but City’s reported interest is even worse. While the Reds and Juventus have relatively similar wage structures, the Sky Blues can offer higher wages than nearly every other club in football―if money is Can’s main issue, the Citizens could easily oblige.
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It doesn’t hurt that their sporting project is quite impressive, either. Now in the second year under Guardiola, the Premier League leaders have arguably been the best team in Europe this season, both domestically and in the UEFA Champions League.
Guardiola has prioritised the signing of younger players, and Can would fit that mold. The former Bayer Leverkusen man is only just scratching the surface of his potential, and losing him would be a major blow for the Reds, per AnfieldHQ’s Oliver Bond:
Oliver Bond @Oliver__Bond
3 years learning at @LFC Experience in PL & CL. Full 🇩🇪 international. Approaching peak years. Disastrous if Emre Can goes for nothing.
It’s clear Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would prefer to keep his compatriot on Merseyside, as he’s made frequent use of his services despite the contract standoff. One has to believe the two parties could still come to an agreement, but things will only become more complicated as the January transfer window moves closer.
The Reds are unlikely to cash in―knowing any fee would be minimal at best―but clubs like City and Juventus can wait for his contract to expire before finalising his move in the summer.
This saga will only pick up steam, so expect plenty more reports to surface in the coming weeks.