Pep Guardiola plots January swoop for La Liga and Brazil full-back – Messi a ‘big admirer’

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has identified Real Betis and Brazil international defender Emerson as a target for the club, claim Spanish media outlet El Desmarque.

Emerson (20) signed for Real Betis in the summer from Atletico Mineiro. He’s made a big impression in La Liga, registering two goals and four assists in his fifteen appearances for the Seville based side.

(Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

The right-back’s performances earned the player his first cap for the Brazilian national side in November, playing in a 3-0 defeat of South Korea. However, Manchester City’s interest is complicated by Emerson’s convoluted transfer deal that brought him to Spain.

Barcelona paid half of the transfer fee that saw Emerson sign for Real Betis. In return, the club gained a percentage of the player’s economic rights and are entitled to sign the defender for €6m in 2021.

(Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)

El Desmarque say that City are planning a huge offer to persuade Betis to sell Emerson to the Premier League champions instead. This would apparently ‘incense Lionel Messi’, who is said to regard Emerson as capable of emulating Dani Alves, with whom the 2019 Ballon d’Or winner was able to forge a devastating partnership.

Any move for Emerson would likely hinge on the future of Joao Cancelo. Talk has been increasing in recent weeks about Valencia’s interest in the discontent Portuguese full-back, and should Cancelo seek an exit, a move for Emerson could be on the cards.

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