Manchester City prepared to axe Claudio Bravo after Benfica sanction sale of goalkeeper

Yahoo Sport UK

Benfica have included Manchester City target Ederson Moraes in a list of players the Portuguese champions plan to sell in the summer transfer window.

The young Brazilian goalkeeper has rapidly established himself as one of the game’s leading talents in his position, and Benfica expect to raise a minimum of €30million as a transfer fee.

City manager Pep Guardiola regards Ederson as a potential replacement for his current number one, Claudio Bravo.

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In contrast to the under performing Chile international, the 23-year-old combines excellent shot stopping with a comfort commanding the area behind his defensive line and in building play with the ball at his feet.

Ederson moved to Portugal from Brazilian second-tier side Ribeirao as a teenager, rapidly establishing himself as a Portuguese Primeria Liga starter at Rio Ave under the coaching of Nuno (himself a former goalkeeper) and Ian Cathro.

He was called up to Brazil’s under-23 national team before being sold to Benfica for €500,000 in the summer of 2015.

In his first campaign at the Lisbon club, Ederson replaced the injured Julio Cesar for the final 10 matches of Benfica’s run to the Portuguese title.

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This season, he has kept 11 clean sheets in his 19 Liga and Champions League appearances for the club amidst ever increasing interest from leading European suitors.

Though Benfica last month improved and extended Ederson’s contract until 2023, while raising his release clause to €60m, the move was part of the club’s ambitious plan to raise a record €200m from close-season transfers of a squad considered one of the most talented in European football.

Amongst other players available for sale are Victor Lindelof, the Sweden centre back Jose Mourinho attempted to bring to Manchester United last month, plus full backs Alex Grimaldo and Nelson Semedo.

Achieving a fee of €30m for Ederson, whose economic rights Benfica own in full, would represent the second highest sum ever paid for a goalkeeper, behind only the extreme outlier of Gianluigi Buffon’s €53m switch from Parma to Juventus in 2001.

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Real Madrid also remain in the market for a new number one with Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois having again been sounded out about a return to the Spanish capital.

Goalkeeper has proved a problem position for Guardiola throughout a challenging first campaign as City manager with Joe Hart forced out on loan to Torino, and Bravo signed to replace the England international in the final week of the summer window.

Bravo’s recruitment – at Barcelona’s suggestion – followed failed attempts to bring the Catalan club’s first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer or Sporting’s Rui Patricio to the Premier League.

Bravo last saved a shot on goal on January 2nd, has let in each of the last six on-target efforts he has faced, and was dropped by Guardiola for Wednesday night’s comprehensive 4-0 victory at West Ham United.

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