Brighton defender Marc Cucurella hands in transfer request to force Manchester City move

Brighton defender Marc Cucurella - Manchester City braced for final stab at £50m-rated Brighton defender Marc Cucurella - GETTY IMAGES
Brighton defender Marc Cucurella - Manchester City braced for final stab at £50m-rated Brighton defender Marc Cucurella - GETTY IMAGES

Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella has submitted a transfer request in a bid to force through a move to Manchester City.

But Brighton are continuing to hold firm in their £50 million demands for the 24-year-old defender, with the two clubs around £10m apart in their valuations.

City - who will be without defender Aymeric Laporte until at least September following knee surgery - have so far shown a reluctance to go beyond a top price of £40m but Brighton want the same sort of fee as they prised out of Arsenal for centre-back Ben White last summer.

Cucurella has been imploring Brighton’s hierarchy not to block a move, telling manager Graham Potter and the board that he would like the opportunity to join City, and he has now handed in a transfer request in the hope of ending the impasse.

City are expected to make a final attempt to strike a deal in the next few days but Brighton, to date at least, have shown no appetite to back down from their asking price.

Having just sold their four-time Premier League winning left back Oleksandar Zinchenko - who also has vast international experience with Ukraine - to Arsenal for a projected £32m, City believe a fee of up to £40m for Cucurella would represent more than good value but Brighton are holding firm.

Cucurella - who joined Barcelona’s academy at 14 from Espanyol - still has four years left on the deal he signed with Brighton last summer following his £15m arrival from Getafe.

City manager Pep Guardiola is keen to add Cucurella to his squad but, if there is no end to the impasse during further discussions in the coming days, it is thought they could walk away and instead pursue alternative targets. City have shown an interest in the Stuttgart left back Borna Sosa.

Manchester City's Ukrainian midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko celebrates with the Premier league trophy - AFP
Manchester City's Ukrainian midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko celebrates with the Premier league trophy - AFP

Guardiola was tight-lipped when quizzed about Cucurella on Friday. “He’s a Brighton player, I cannot say anything else,” he said. “If it’s possible, yes, but if it’s not we’ll stay with what we have. Joao [Cancelo] can play there, Nathan [Ake] can play there. I never complained about the squad I have. I support the club as I always have done.”

City - who face Liverpool in the Community Shield at Leicester’s King Power Stadium on Saturday - are hoping to make Cucurella their fifth summer signing after striker Erling Haaland, midfielder Kalvin Phillips, forward Julian Alvarez and goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.

The champions have spent £110m so far but they have already recouped £232m in sales in 2022 and that figure could hit £250 before the summer is out since youngsters Samuel Edozie and Issa Kabore could still leave for substantial fees.

City are also in line for handsome sell-on clause payments if Jack Harrison and Ivan Illic leave Leeds and Hellas Verona respectively this summer.

Guardiola has confirmed that Laporte will be out until at least September. Laporte underwent surgery this summer on a knee problem that was bothering him towards the end of last season and the Spain centre-back is now set to miss the start of the season. Laporte’s absence is likely to end any lingering prospect of Ake leaving the club before the close of the transfer window at the end of next month.

“Laporte is injured,” Guardiola said. “He had knee surgery after last season, played the last two or three games with an important injury and made an incredible effort. So far he is doing really well but you have to be careful with a knee. I think he will be out for August. September I think maybe he will start to be with us.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola has revealed that City’s player leadership group are likely to vote next week on the next captain following the departure of Fernandinho at the end of last season.

Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (L) hugs Manchester City's Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho after the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg - AFP
Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (L) hugs Manchester City's Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho after the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg - AFP

With Fernandinho gone, there is also a place available on City’s five-man captain’s group, which already comprises Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias, Ilkay Gundogan and Kyle Walker. Guardiola hinted that De Bruyne might replace Fernandinho as captain but admitted he had no involvement in the process.

“They [the players are] doing the decision next week,” Guardiola said. “I'm pretty sure Kevin will be… as the oldest player here, the responsibility he takes on the pitch and in many cases off the pitch he will be a key role within the team, I’m pretty sure.

“But I don't pick. In the beginning I picked the fifth [player on the leadership group], now I don't pick - they pick. It’s no question of favourites, what the team decide is perfect, what the staff decide I'm happy.

“They have to defend the team when they don’t agree with the manager. I love the captains being decided by them, not me. It belongs to them, in the locker room. I never vote. The only person who doesn't vote is me. What they decide is perfect, not a problem.”