Guardiola talked ‘new Dani Alves’ Yan Couto out of Barcelona move and into €6m Manchester City switch

Yan Couto Harvey Elliott Brazil EnglandGetty

Yan Couto has admitted that Pep Guardiola talked him out of a move to Barcelona, with the 17-year-old defender opting to agree a switch to Manchester City in January after a late change of heart.

It appeared at one stage as though the talented teenager was destined to head for Camp Nou. Barca had held discussions with Cortiba and considered themselves to be in pole position when it came to buying into considerable potential.

City, though, had other ideas and swept in to lure Couto to England.

A €6 million (£5m/$7m) package, which could end up costing the Blues as much as €12m (£11m/$13m), was agreed and the highly-rated youngster put pen to paper on a switch to the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola played an integral role in that decision, with the former Barca boss moving to ensure that his former employers in Catalunya were left frustrated.

Brazilian right-back Couto, who has been billed as ‘the new Dani Alves’, told ESPN of an eventful saga: "I had a good conversation with Barcelona and I thought I would go there, but then Manchester City appeared and showed me how things would be there.

"At first, they wanted to loan me out straight away, but then I spoke with Guardiola. He told me that I would do preseason with the first team and from there it would depend on me.

"Guardiola was very attentive and said that he was really happy I was coming to the club. It was the best decision for me."

Yan Couto NxGn

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund had also been in the hunt for Couto’s signature, with a star showing at the U17 World Cup in 2019 seeing him attract interest from around the world.

He admits that he did not see himself leaving Cortiba so early in his career, but is looking forward to taking on a new challenge in Eurppe.

Couto added: "I have been a fan of Coritiba since I was a kid. My only dream when I was younger was to be a professional for Coritiba.

"I really wanted to do a full season in the Brazilian league, but unfortunately it has not worked out that way. I saw that I could achieve big things and I am fulfilling a dream by going to play in Europe."

Couto had been due to link up with City in July, after turning 18 on June 3, but the coronavirus pandemic appears set to delay his arrival as the 2019-20 campaigns are yet to be completed.

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