Graham Potter insists Marc Cucurella is “happy” at Brighton, despite Manchester City’s reported interest in the Spanish left-back.
Cucurella has been identified as the Citizen’s top left-back target and the Premier League champions have already lodged a £30million bid.
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That offer was turned down by Albion, who are standing firm with their £50m valuation of the player.
The Spaniard had an excellent debut season in England, quickly establishing himself as one of the best left-backs in the top flight.
City have been active in the summer transfer window. They have brought in Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips and Stefan Ortega, spending around £95m in total.
A new left-back has been on the agenda for the while and following the departure of Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal, it has become a huge priority.
While City have the funds to meet Brighton’s valuation, they are playing hardball.
Pep Guardiola recently admitted that he has plenty of options available to him in Cucurella’s position, insisting that Nathan Ake, Joao Cancelo and Wilson-Esbrand can all play in left-back.
Manchester Evening News have claimed that City are still ‘confident’ that Cucurella wants to join them and Guardiola ‘sees no reason to panic’.
This is despite Brighton boss Potter insisting the 24-year-old is “happy” at his current club.
“Yeah, he is happy. It is not easy because there’s speculation, he’s a human being and that is the challenge with footballers when the window is open, you get linked with this and that,” he said.
“It is what it is. We have a lot of respect for Marc, we like him a lot and we are just helping him enjoy his football.”
The former Barcelona defender featured for Brighton against Reading in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
According to Spanish newspaper Sport (via Sport Witness), his appearance against the Championship side ‘keeps the pulse alive with Manchester City’.
Despite the fact that Potter literally said Cucurella is “happy” at Brighton, the report claims the player is ‘unhappy’ with the Seagulls’ high asking price.
He ‘wants to play’ for Guardiola, however, the £50m asking price has resulted in a ‘tug-of-war’ between the Premier League clubs.
City have not held back in their pursuit of defensive targets in recent years, spending a whopping £100m on full-backs in the 2017 transfer window.
Their defensive depth is very impressive and a lot of money has been invested into the backline, so it would not be surprising to see them splash the cash on Cucurella, especially after Albion received the same transfer fee for Benjamin White last summer.