MUNICH (AP) — Bayern Munich bolstered its struggling team with the loan signing of Portugal left back João Cancelo from Manchester City on Tuesday, the last day of the transfer period.
The 28-year-old Cancelo joined “on an initial deal through to the end of the current season,” Bayern said. The German club has the option to make the transfer permanent for a fee of 70 million euros ($76 million).
Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said the deal was “very spontaneous” and came together after Bayern’s last game Saturday.
“(Bayern sporting director) Hasan Salihamidžić said we have a chance. Then I said: ‘We’re doing it,'” Nagelsmann said.
Cancelo could potentially make his Bayern debut Wednesday against Mainz in the German Cup, Nagelsmann added, but that hasn’t yet been decided.
Cancelo, who scored five goals and set up 11 more in 98 Premier League games for City, will give Bayern more security in defense and an added attacking threat ahead of a Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain next month.
“João is a player we’ve been thinking about for a while now because we very much appreciate his qualities. He’s the optimal fit in our system with his attacking style of play and dynamism, and his mentality and experience fit very well in our team,” Salihamidžić said.
Cancelo can play on the left or right, giving Bayern much-needed options after left-sided defender Lucas Hernández injured his knee at the World Cup and right back Noussair Mazraoui has inflamed tissue around his heart following a COVID-19 infection. Bayern signed free agent Daley Blind as cover this month but he has yet to play, while Benjamin Pavard’s form at right back has been mixed as well.
Bayern has been struggling so far this year with three consecutive 1-1 draws against Leipzig, Cologne and Eintracht Frankfurt. The team’s Bundesliga lead has shrunk from four points before the winter break to one. Union Berlin, Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund are all within three points.
“Bayern is a great club, one of the best in the world, and it’s enormous motivation for me to now play alongside these extraordinary players in a team,” Cancelo was quoted as saying by Bayern. “I know that this club, this team lives for titles and wins titles every year. I’m also driven by the hunger for success.”
Cancelo, considered one of the best left backs in the Premier League, had lost his starting place at City to Nathan Aké since the World Cup, where he also dropped out of Portugal’s starting lineup after the group stage. He was previously one of City’s most important players as a creative fullback who often moved into midfield during matches.
City manager Pep Guardiola, who previously coached Bayern, has preferred Aké, typically a center back, at left back since the World Cup.
Cancelo came through Benfica’s youth system before leaving for Valencia, initially on loan, in 2014. He later joined Inter Milan on loan before switching to Italian rival Juventus in 2018. He joined City a year later.
Last year, Cancelo extended his contract at City to 2027.
Cancelo has seven goals in 41 appearances for Portugal.
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