Pep Guardiola has perfect makeweight in Man City’s transfer chase for £40m star

Erling Haaland's first Man City interview!

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Liam Delap could prove to be the perfect makeweight in Manchester City’s pursuit of Marc Cucurella. The Brighton star enjoyed an impressive debut campaign in English football, and is now the subject of an approach from the Premier League champions.

Brighton have already struck a deal to sign promising Nordsjaelland winger Simon Adingra, with a reported £6 million fee enough to win the race for the 20-year-old. The Ivorian made his debut for the Norwegian side last year, and established himself as a first-team regular last season with return of six goals and three assists in the league.

However, the Seagulls are understood to be in the market for further attacking reinforcements with City prospect Delap said to be on their shortlist. The 19-year-old is currently away on international duty with England at the under-19 European Championships.

The summer arrivals of Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland have reportedly led to Delap being made available on loan in order to gain first-team experience at a senior level. The son of Stoke City legend Rory has made six appearances for Guardiola’s side so far, and scored on his debut in the Carabao Cup victory over Bournemouth in September 2020.

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Delap’s progress was somewhat stunted by injuries last season, although he still managed to score eight goals in just 10 Premier League 2 appearances. The promising striker also made his Champions League debut in the emphatic 5-0 win at Sporting Lisbon.

Delap’s loan availability has added an extra dimension to City’s pursuit of Cucurella according to the Mail Online, with talks said to be ongoing over a prospective £40m deal. Guardiola’s side are said to have identified the Spanish left-back and Kalvin Phillips as their priority targets this window, having already completed deals for Haaland and Alvarez.

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City have previously resisted loan interest from Championship clubs in Delap, but a Premier League switch could be on the cards. Southampton have recently been linked, but negotiations over a deal for Cucurella would likely give Brighton the advantage.

Cucurella was named as both Albion’s player’s player of the year as well as coming out on top in the fans’ vote for their best performer of the season. The defender signed a five-year deal after signing from La Liga side Getafe last summer, but did not dismiss speculation over a potential exit after just a single season.

Cucurella told Jijantes via the Manchester Evening News last month: “The goal [at Brighton] was to develop so the big clubs can take notice But if the opportunity arises, you have to take advantage of it.

“There are teams that you can’t say no to. No, sincerely no [Guardiola has not called]. Of course, there are rumours. If people are talking like this about you, it’s a good thing. We’re calm; the most important thing right now is to rest.”

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