Soccer-Bayern sign Man City full back Cancelo on loan to plug injury gaps

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Portugal Training - Al Shahaniya SC Training Facilities, Al-Shahaniya, Qatar - December 1, 2022 Portugal's Joao Cancelo during training REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

BERLIN (Reuters) -Bayern Munich have signed full back Joao Cancelo on an initial loan deal from Manchester City for the rest of the season with an option to buy the Portugal international, the Bundesliga club said on Tuesday.

His arrival completes a trio of winter signings for Bayern, who face Paris St Germain in the Champions League last 16 in two weeks, with keeper Yann Sommer and defender Daley Blind.

They were brought in to replace long-term injured goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and defenders Lucas Hernandez and Noussair Mazraoui.

Cancelo made 16 league starts for City this season but has not played for the club since their derby loss to Manchester United earlier this month, missing the last three games.

He started only three of 10 games after the World Cup break and lost his place to Nathan Ake while 18-year-old Rico Lewis also emerged as an option for manager Pep Guardiola this season.

"My decision had to do with the playing time that had been little in recent weeks," the Portuguese told a news conference. "There was speculation that my relationship with (Manchester City coach) Pep (Guardiola) was not the best but fact is I wanted to play more.

"I wanted to start this new adventure as soon as possible," Cancelo added. "I enjoyed my time at City and I am still under contract with the club so I don't see it as a final departure. I will now focus only on my five months and see what happens then."

Cancelo had been instrumental for City since his arrival in 2019, winning two league titles, while he was also named in the Premier League Team of the Year in the past two seasons.

The versatile 28-year-old has predominantly played as a left back but can also operate on the right flank.

"We've signed him on loan now and have the possibility of signing him permanently in the summer," said Bayern's sports director Hasan Salihamidzic.

"Joao is a player we've been thinking about for a while now because we very much appreciate his qualities. He's the optimal fit in our system with his attacking style of play and dynamism, and his mentality and experience fit very well in our team.

"We have now brought in Sommer, Daley Blind and Joao. We covered those three positions and hope to have the depth in our squad needed to reach our goals."

Bayern top the Bundesliga but have failed to win since the restart after the World Cup. They have had three straight draws and their lead over Union Berlin has been cut to a point.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru and Karolos Grohmann in Berlin; Editing by Ken Ferris and Christian Radnedge)

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