Manchester City take steps to hijacking Barcelona bid for veteran right-back

He is a player that Pep Guardiola tried and failed to sign while in charge of FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and now at the age of 34, Darijo Srna is again a target for the Catalan coach.

According to Mundo Deportivo, City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, has been monitoring talks between Srna and Barcelona, who the Croatian right-back has been expected to sign for.

Guardiola wants new full-backs, and although Srna is even older than the four veterans already on the books, he is a a player Pep has always admired. And despite his age, he has been outstanding again for his club, Shakhtar Donetsk, this season, both domestically and in the Europa League. Back in June, he was arguably the Man of the Match when Croatia went out of Euro 2016 to Portugal.

Srna has been widely regarded as one of Europe’s best full-backs in the past decade, but a strong loyalty to Shakhtar has seen him turn down offers from the likes of Chelsea and Bayern. However, he has now been given the green light to leave Shakhtar for one final experience in football.

Barcelona are in regular contact with Srna, who speaks fluent English, but City, along with teams in Italy and Germany, are watching and waiting to see if there is an opportunity to sign him. In the past week, Txiki is reported to have collected information to discover City’s chances of recruiting him in January.

Srna is keen to join Barcelona, but Luis Enrique will have the final decision and Robert Fern√°ndez has proposed other names to him, meaning no deal is set in stone yet.

Shakhtar have promised Srna that he’ll be allowed to join Barcelona for free if the La Liga giants do decide to close the deal, but were any other club were to sign him, they’d be expected to pay modest compensation for the decorated right-back.

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