Ferran Torres is taking a £55m step down to join Barcelona as Man City double their money – Dominic Farrell

Agreeing to pay Manchester City a bigger fee than they have ever received for a player while being €1.35billion in debt feels like just about the perfect ending to Barcelona’s year of financial mayhem in 2021.

Josep Maria Bartomeu brought the club to the brink of ruin and drove Lionel Messi towards the exit door, so he lost the presidential election to Joan Laporta, who triumphed on a ticket that pledged to keep the best player of all time.

And Messi agreed to stay! Only Barca could not afford to keep him and he trudged off to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer. They then had to beg various other senior players to take massive pay cuts.

On the field, they started the season shambolically, sacked Ronald Koeman and now lie seventh under the returning messiah Xavi – 15 points shy of leaders Real Madrid, their bitter rivals set to romp to LaLiga glory unopposed.

Perhaps Ferran Torres just really likes rubbernecking at car crashes?

What might have been

MEN Sport understands City have agreed a deal that could come to be worth £55million to sell their Spain forward to Barcelona. If all add-on stipulations are met, it will eclipse the £54.8m Bayern Munich paid for Leroy Sane in summer 2020.

Barca will still need to find room on their books to fit Ferran’s wages, but if this is a done deal it will understandably leave City fans with a sense of what might have been.

Signed for £20.8m from Valencia in the middle of last year, ostensibly as a Sane replacement of sorts, Ferran soon showed his aptitude for playing as the central attacker in a 4-3-3.

Ferran Torres looks likely to leave City for Barcelona for a fee below City’s original asking price

Lauded by Pep Guardiola for having the much desired “sense of goal”, the youngster scored 13 times in 36 appearances during his debut season in England.

Those were handy enough numbers, but it was the way Ferran went about his business that suggested a very bright future indeed, one now set to unfold elsewhere.

There was the hat-trick set in motion by an audacious flicked volley at Newcastle, while he served notice of his talent with a hat-trick for Spain in a 6-0 demolition of Germany earlier in the campaign.

Ferran’s record at international level is exceptional and had you told City fans they would never see him in a sky blue shirt again when he netted a brace against European champions Italy in October to move on to 12 in 22 caps for Spain, the outcry would have been voluble.

Not the finished article

But the combination of a broken metatarsal and Laporta finding a fair bit of loose change down the back of the sofa means that is the situation we face.

You’d think, as City ploughed on without an established centre-forward option, a clamour for Torres to remain and return would have whipped up in the meantime.

That has not really been the case. Goals are flying in from all angles. City scored 11 of them last week, the same number that top scorer Riyad Mahrez has for the season.

Raheem Sterling, apparently the object of Barca’s affections before they turned towards a younger model in 21-year-old Ferran, has six in his past nine outings.

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Bernardo Silva has already equalled his most prolific Premier League season with seven goals from midfield, while Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne have six and five respectively despite enduring stop-start campaigns.

Another way of viewing the Ferran saga is a City team without a striker have not missed him in the slightest during his injury absence and he would be highly unlikely to stroll back into the first XI.

For all the talk of Barca’s romance and allure, this is the case of a professional footballer acknowledging the benefits of joining a team with lesser players where there is more chance of him getting regular starts.

City are going to more than double their money in the space of 18 months on a player who has never been a regular starter and wants to leave. From that point of view, it sounds like a good deal for all parties.

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There is, of course, a worry in these unique times that City might end up finding themselves short as winter bites and the focus on bringing in new striker – be it Erling Haaland, Dusan Vlahovic or someone else – should be sharpened.

But that’s also a key point here. City’s answer to their lack of a centre-forward is always going to be found externally. Ferran knows that and, as such, is choosing to take a step down to a Europa League club.

Maybe he’ll prove Guardiola and Txiki Begiristain wrong on their old stomping ground with some truly phenomenal performances. Although, right now, Barcelona do not provide a very good platform for phenomenal deeds.

Do you think City are getting a good deal with the sale of Ferran Torres? Follow the City Is Ours editor Dom Farrell on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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