The Insider: Manchester City & Barcelona bury the hatchet following peace talks

The two clubs have smoothed over relations since the resignation of Barca president Sandro Rosell, plus Spurs' Livermore ploy and a potential new deal for Costel Pantilimon

Manchester City and Barcelona officials are back on cordial terms after both clubs went out of their way to smooth things over after a two-year spat.

Something of a non-aggression pact has been put in place following recent meetings between top officials, with the clubs now set to steer clear of signing key players from each other.

Midfielder Denis Suarez was recently allowed to join Barca but City continue to be fleetingly linked with a world-record bid for Lionel Messi at some stage in the future, and there have been rumours of a move to Camp Nou for Sergio Aguero.

City CEO Ferran Soriano and technical director Txiki Begiristain were told to stay clear of poaching staff and players from Barcelona after they moved to Eastlands in 2012.

Relations between the clubs soured further when, in February 2013, Soriano was accused of spying on Barca staff during his tenure as a director at the Camp Nou.

But tensions between the clubs have calmed since president Sandro Rossell's resignation in the wake of cover-up over the signing of Brazilian superstar Neymar.

Barca have been charged by the Spanish national court with failing to pay €9.1m tax on the deal, while the exact figure which was paid to Santos and third parties is in dispute.

- by Paul Clennam


A senior Manchester City delegation were at a luxury Rome hotel in midweek, the Insider can reveal.

Officials from the Abu Dhabi-owned club, including chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, held meetings at the magnificently appointed Hotel Hassler, which sits at the top of the city's landmark Spanish steps.

The delegation were on City-related business, just hours after the club's 2-0 Champions League defeat to Barcelona, but mystery surrounds their exact purpose.

Given the absence of either chief executive Ferran Soriano or director of football Txiki Begiristain, it is inconceivable that the Premier League favourites were involved in transfer discussions.

It is possible that the meetings centred on commercial tie-ups or, more likely, plans for the money-spinning pre-season tournament in the USA in the summer, in which City and Roma are two of the eight participating teams.

- by Wayne Veysey


Jake Livermore hinted last week that Tottenham had considered recalling him from his loan spell at Hull City during the January transfer window.

But The Insider understands suggestions that the on-loan midfielder could return to White Hart Lane were merely a negotiating ploy by the Londoners during negotiations over a permanent transfer.

Hull tried to sign the 24-year-old for around £5 million but Spurs pulled the plug on the deal, claiming Tim Sherwood wanted to keep an eye on his development.

Hull will now wait until the summer before making another attempt to sign Livermore permanently.

Livermore would like to complete a permanent switch and is enjoying regular playing opportunities, having started 24 Premier League matches this season, scoring two goals.

- by Greg Stobart


Manchester City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon will discuss his future at the club shortly, after once again slipping behind Joe Hart in the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini is a big fan of the Romanian and would like him to stay on this summer and has already given the 27-year-old more first-team opportunities than previous coach Roberto Mancini.

And City are prepared to offer Pantilimon an improved deal if he wants to keep fighting for the No.1 spot with Hart.

The Romanian currently earns £30,000 a week and has previously been linked with moves to AC Milan and Valencia.

- by Paul Clennam