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Pep Guardiola’s former team are trying to stop him from signing Real Sociedad centre-back Inigo Martinez.
City had made headway in their approach of the 26-year-old in the last fortnight and were certain they had no competition due to their good rapport with Sociedad.
However, Barcelona, now mega rich with funds from the £198m sale of Brazil superstar Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, are now trying to deter City’s effort by declaring interest.
Martinez has a £30m buy-out clause in his current contract although both clubs are believed to be offering a fee £5m short of that, with the balance made up by add-ons and bonuses.
Sociedad are also aware of the sudden interest from Italian giants Inter Milan and are now sensing an auction in a bid to raise the stakes higher.
The Citizens have already spent £213m in the transfer market this summer but Guardiola is concerned that his back line is still weak a little and feels Martinez has the right qualities to improve his defense.
The player is attracted by a move to the Premier League but City know Barcelona’s arrival on the scene will not be helpful to their cause.
The lure of Premier League is strong for the player but City know Barcelona’s interest in him could be a stumbling block.