Bayern Munich have already conceded that Joao Cancelo could be too expensive to sign on a permanent basis at the end of his loan from Manchester City.
Having established himself as one of the best full-backs in Europe, Cancelo secured a swift exit from City in January after suddenly losing his place in Pep Guardiola’s preferred XI.
It had been business as usual for the Portugal international in the first few months of the season, only to find himself benched when club football returned after a break for the World Cup.
Guardiola has since admitted that a post-World Cup tweak in the style City are playing led to other players getting more opportunities and Cancelo becoming unhappy over his new status.
“After the World Cup, we had a pre-season and decided to play a little different,” the City boss said.
“I liked what I watched, so I gave more time to other players. His personality, like mine, he loves to play. He trains the best but the situation, he doesn’t play much. In the last year, [he was] one of the players with more minutes. He needs to play to be happy, so we decided to let him go to Munich.”
The deal with Bayern was agreed as a loan until the end of the season, with a view to making it a permanent deal for €70m (£63m). Such a fee would make Cancelo the second most expensive player in Bayern’s history, behind only fellow full-back Lucas Hernandez at €80m.
But it is not as simple for the German champions as just paying that money when the time comes.
“We play with open cards. The most important thing is that Joao feels comfortable in Munich and can perform in the second half of the season,” sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic told Bild.
“But we also told him clearly that this sum is difficult for us to imagine in the next few years.”
Cancelo made his Bayern debut against Mainz in the DFB Pokal at the start of February and appeared in the Bundesliga for the first time against Wolfsburg at the weekend. He contributed an assist in each game, both convincing Bayern wins.