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City prepared to walk away from Cucurella deal

Manchester City are exploring alternative left-back options in the transfer market as Brighton still insist on a £50m transfer fee for Marc Cucurella.

City are in the market for a left-back following Aleks Zinchenko’s departure, with Cucurella emerging as a candidate and he wants to leave Brighton, reportedly handing in a transfer request this week. However, Brighton want £50m and City are adamant they will not pay that much, creating a stand-off for the Spaniard that looks set to drag into the new season and final weeks of the transfer window.

So with Brighton standing firm, City are turning their attentions to other left-backs in case that situation continues, although they are not walking away completely from their interest in Cucurella.

City still want the full-back — who missed Brighton’s friendly with Espanyol this weekend with injury — but are comfortable about walking away if they need to. The Blues have held firm and walked away from previous negotiations for players like Harry Maguire, Fred and Alexis Sanchez when the money involved exceeded their own valuations of the players.

Pep Guardiola said on Friday that City would be comfortable going into the new season without a new left-back, when Cucurella was mentioned in his press conference ahead of the Community Shield defeat to Liverpool.

“He’s a Brighton player. I cannot say anything else,” said Guardiola. “If it’s possible [to strengthen we will] but if not, we stay with the players we have.

“Joao [Cancelo] can play there, Josh [Wilson-Esbrand] can play there, Nathan [Ake] can play there. I never complain about the squad I have since the first season. It is always for the benefit of the club, not for me, and I support the club.”

Brighton boss Graham Potter said this weekend that he hopes to have Cucurella available for their Premier League opener at Manchester United next weekend, offering an update on his injury.

“Hopefully Marc will recover from his calf [issue], it was a problem he had this week,” said Potter on Saturday.

“That is how I see it [Cucurella will face United], yes, at the moment. He had a feeling in his calf this week so didn’t feel like it was the right thing to risk him today but we will see for next week.”

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