Exclusive: Barcelona Goalkeeper Victor Valdes Strongly Linked With Manchester City Move

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Valdes agrees in principle to join City at the end of Barcelona contract.

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Victor Valdes has reportedly agreed a pre-contract deal to sign for Manchester City next season upon expiration of his current contract with Barcelona, CaughtOffside has learned.

The 31-year-old has spent his entire career at the Nou Camp after rising through the club’s La Masia youth system, and has become a hugely important player for the side that has conquered both the domestic and European scene for much of the last decade.

However, after a glittering career of six La Liga triumphs and three Champions League titles, Valdes has decided to embark upon a new challenge when his contract expires, and despite the best efforts of Barcelona president Sandro Rosell to persuade him to change his mind, he has decided on moving next summer.

The likes of PSG and Monaco had also been strongly linked with the Spaniard, though he appears to have chosen a move to Premier League giants Manchester City, though he is not yet able to officially sign a deal at the Etihad Stadium.

However, talks between the player’s agent and club representatives have been ongoing and have progressed well, leading Valdes to agree in principle to sign for the 2012 Premier League champions.

This will represent a major coup for manager Manuel Pellegrini, who has had to deal with a surprise and unfortunate drop in form from current number one Joe Hart this season, with the England international recently making two costly individual errors in a shock 3-2 defeat to Cardiff City.

Hart’s demise also appeared to start last season under previous manager Roberto Mancini, whom it later emerged had planned on signing a replacement for the goalkeeper this summer, though he was sacked by the club before the end of the 2012/13 campaign.

Valdes will now be a suitable replacement for Hart as first choice at the Etihad Stadium, and the latest big-name arrival at the club since their take over from the Abu Dhabi group in 2008.

Yaya Toure is another major signing in that time who has switched Barcelona for Manchester City, as the club continue to establish themselves among the traditional giants of European football.

It is understood that playing in the Premier League had been a big factor in Valdes’ decision, as the competition in England is widely regarded as the best in the world at the moment, with Barcelona often being relatively unchallenged for titles in Spain.

It is not yet clear who Barcelona will look at to replace Valdes, though the likes of Petr Cech and Pepe Reina are being strongly linked as the Catalan giants’ top targets.

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