Will Claudio Bravo leave Manchester City this summer?
Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has spent his second season at the Etihad Stadium as second-choice to Ederson. After a woeful campaign as the number one, that's hardly a surprise. He’s been used in the domestic cups this campaign but may be on his way out due to an overall lack of playing time and a breakdown in his relationship with the Catalan coach.
On the outs?
Signed from Barcelona in 2016, the 35-year-old made 33 appearances in all competitions in 2016/17, losing his starting place to Willy Caballero midway through his debut season. Bravo suffered an error-prone campaign which led to him being frozen out. It soured his relationship with Guardiola.
The Chilean shot-stopper featured in four of City’s first five Champions League appearances but was left out of their remaining three games following his dip in form. In the Premier League, he made only six appearances between January 2017 and May and was phased out following Ederson’s arrival that summer.
Reduced to playing in domestic cups in his second season, Bravo helped Manchester City to the semi-finals of the League Cup following a quarter-final shootout victory over Leicester City in December 2017 but didn’t look pleased when embraced by Guardiola. In a post-match interview, he all but admitted they had a frosty relationship.
Well, it is what it is. He is grateful for the two penalty shoot-outs in which it was my turn to help the team, but other than that there is nothing else to say.
Brave also hinted his stay at the club was down to his family settling in Manchester, rather than his happiness. He has two more years on his deal and doesn’t appear desperate to leave.
I think life is not only about football, life involves a lot more, I have a family to consider, they are living in Manchester, we are thrilled that the kids are learning the language perfectly. These are things we consider as a family, setting aside whether I'm playing or not. It's all about being calm, to keep working, keep doing my job when I’m called upon, and being patient. In that sense I'm calm, at my age I’m not going crazy, as I said in life there are many things more important than football.
Inaction could see Bravo change his mind, however. Ederson isn't going anywhere any time soon. Bravo’s last game for City was a dead rubber Champions League clash with FC Basel in March, his only showing in Europe. If City aren’t using him, it doesn’t make sense to eat up their foreign player quota.
Premier League clubs are allowed 17 players who are not classified as ‘homegrown’, who haven’t trained in England for three years before their 21st birthday. Bravo was named as one of them this season. He may be replaced by Angus Gunn this summer. City could struggle meeting the criteria otherwise.
City need eight homegrown players next season to register a full 25-man squad. Only Kyle Walker, John Stones, Fabian Delph, and Raheem Sterling currently fit the bill. Swapping Bravo for Gunn would give them room for another foreign player whom the Sky Blues are expected to sign this summer.
Gunn has spent the season on loan with Norwich City and has kept 14 clean sheets in the Championship. The 22-year-old earned an England call-up earlier this campaign and has been tipped for a bright future. His youth might see him more open to a loan move than bench duty with City, but the experience of working under Guardiola could be a lure.
Bravo has said he plans to return to South America in his career, so there’s a slim chance a new second-choice could be promoted from the reserves.