Man City land major transfer boost as rivals 'pull out of race' for £50m-rated star

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Pep Guardiola is a big fan of the Bayern Munich star and could be in the market for midfield reinforcements.

Barcelona have pulled out of the race to sign midfielder Joshua Kimmich due to ongoing financial problems at the Nou Camp, according to reports in Spain.

Kimmich has been a long-term target at City, having played under Pep Guardiola for three years at Bayern Munich. The German's current contract expires in 2025 and multiple reports in recent weeks have suggested he will not sign a new one in search of a fresh challenge.

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Barcelona have also been linked with a move for Kimmich but Spanish outlet Sport reports that they will not pursue a deal as they cannot afford it. The Catalan club have been plagued by financial crisis for a number of years and are operating within stringent La Liga rules.

Much of their recent business has been centred around free transfers or loan deals that kick the financial can down the road - such as those for Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Cancelo respectively. They could have taken a similar approach for Kimmich but interest in him is big enough that other clubs will inevitably stump up the cash upfront.

Kimmich is believed to be worth around £50million but his contract situation could aide those trying to cut a deal with Bayern. Recent reports have suggested that City would look to slash that fee in half, should they make a move in the summer - an approach this month is unlikely.

Guardiola could once again be forced to focus on strengthening central midfield in the summer with departures in that area likely. Kalvin Phillips looks set to find more regular football elsewhere this month and even if he does only leave on loan, a permanent exit is on the cards.

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Bernardo Silva signed a contract extension in September but has made no secret of his desire to go back to Portugal. In December, the 29-year-old admitted he wants to return to Benfica but acknowledged they could not meet City's financial demands any time soon.

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