Claudio Bravo will be staying at Manchester City despite suggestions of a quick return to Spain, manager Pep Guardiola has indicated.
Guardiola, the club’s head coach, has made clear his belief that the Chile goalkeeper is happy at City despite a tricky start to life in Manchester.
Bravo left Barcelona to join City for £17m in August as Guardiola wanted a new first choice to replace Joe Hart.
However, the new arrival has had a few testing moments; he was sent off on his return to the Nou Camp in the Champions League in October, and has kept just two clean sheets in his last 14 games.
A report in Spain this week suggested that the keeper has told his team-mates that he wants to rejoin Barcelona, even though that would mean him being back up to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
However, Guardiola said: “I didn’t read that. Sometimes, when you [journalists] come here, Simon [Heggie, City’s head of media relations] will make a briefing as to what you are going to ask me. But he didn’t speak about that issue.
“I don’t read too much of newspapers, of the Twitters and Instagrams and Facebooks. I spoke with Bravo in the last days, and with his wife as well. I saw him here. Their little daughter as well, but I couldn’t speak with her because she is just one year old. I couldn’t speak with her. And he told me he is so happy.”
City have been hit by a significant setback as they prepare for Sunday’s home match against Arsenal, after learning that midfielder Ilkay Gundogan likely to miss the rest of the season.
The Germany international tore cruciate knee ligaments during Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Watford, and needs surgery.
Guardiola said: “We are going to miss him a lot. He is sad, we are sad. We are upset. It was an unlucky situation. Now we need to help him to feel we are there. He will come back safe. That is going to happen.”
I don’t read too much of newspapers, of the Twitters and Instagrams and Facebooks. I spoke with Bravo in the last days... he told me he is so happy.
Gundogan’s absence is set to give more chances to Yaya Toure, who played just once in the opening thre months of the season after a public fallout with Guardiola, but is now back in the squad.
Now in this moment he is maybe going to have more minutes than before,” Guardiola said.
“That’s why you have a squad big enough. If we need players we have a second team and we will try to count on them as well.”