Paul Merson believes that there is more to the Joao Cancelo story than has been told as he is shocked Pep Guardiola allowed him to go out on loan.
The Manchester City defender had been one of the best players in the Premier League last season as he produced seven assists.
There’s no denying that his levels had dropped this season, along with a few other Man City stars. Rumours around a bust-up with Guardiola had sparked up, but Cancelo himself denied them.
“There was a lot of speculation about my relationship with Pep Guardiola,” Cancelo told a press conference. But the truth is that I just wanted to get more playing minutes. And I see that opportunity at Bayern.
“I didn’t ask Pep Guardiola about Bayern Munich, everything happened too quickly for that. I feel ready to start straight away. I’d like to put on the Bayern shirt and get going as soon as possible.”
Cancelo has provided his side of the story, but Merson thinks that something behind the scenes must have happened.
“Something has definitely happened with Joao Cancelo,” the pundit told Sportskeeda.
“I know he’s come out and denied it, but something’s gone on. He was one of the best players in the Premier League last season, and now he’s on loan at Bayern Munich – I don’t see how that deal happens.
“Man City are playing on a lot of fronts, and an injury could end their season. Cancelo has played in the Champions League and he’s been a big player for City.
“I’m shocked, and I don’t believe that nothing’s happened.”
The Portuguese full-back had started in 16 of Man City’s 20 Premier League matches this season, but he struggled to reach the same heights of last season.
Given that Kyle Walker has struggled for fitness at points of the season, City were already light on options at full-back.
Next up for Guardiola’s side is a test against Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday. Merson thinks the pressure will be on City to stay in the title race.
“The pressure’s going to be on Manchester City this week,” he added. “They’ll probably be eight points behind Arsenal when they play this game, and they can’t afford anything less than a win here.
“If they don’t beat Tottenham, I don’t see how they can make up the difference.
“At the moment, Pep Guardiola seems to fancy Grealish more than Foden. Pep knows what he’s doing – he pushes players, gets the best out of them for as long as he can, and then changes it up. It’s quite clever how he does it, and he’s fortunate to have the players to do it.”