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Bayern signs João Cancelo on loan from Manchester City

MUNICH (AP) — Bayern Munich bolstered its struggling team with the loan signing of Portugal left back João Cancelo from Manchester City on Tuesday, the last day of the transfer period.
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FILE -- Manchester City's Joao Cancelo, left, plays the ball during the Champions League Group G soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. Bayern Munich has made an unexpected move to bolster its struggling team by signing Portugal left back Joao Cancelo on loan from Manchester City for the rest of the season. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, file)

MUNICH (AP) — Bayern Munich bolstered its struggling team with the loan signing of Portugal left back João Cancelo from Manchester City on Tuesday, the last day of the transfer period.

The 28-year-old Cancelo joined “on an initial deal through to the end of the current season,” Bayern said. The German club has the option to make the transfer permanent for a fee of 70 million euros ($76 million).

Cancelo, who scored five goals and set up 11 more in 98 Premier League games for City, will give Bayern more security in defense and an added attacking threat.

“João 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,” Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said.

Cancelo can play on the left or right, giving Bayern much-needed options after left-sided defender Lucas Hernández injured his knee at the World Cup and right back Noussair Mazraoui has inflamed tissue around his heart following a COVID-19 infection.

Bayern has been struggling so far this year with three consecutive 1-1 draws against Leipzig, Cologne and Eintracht Frankfurt. The team’s Bundesliga lead has shrunk from four points before the winter break to one. Union Berlin, Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund are all within three points.

Cancelo, considered one of the best left backs in the Premier League, has lost his starting place at City to Nathan Aké since the World Cup, where he also dropped out of Portugal’s starting lineup after the group stage. He was previously one of City’s most important players as a creative fullback who often moved into midfield during matches.

City manager Pep Guardiola, who previously coached Bayern, has preferred Aké, typically a center back, at left back since the World Cup.

Cancelo came through Benfica’s youth system before leaving for Valencia, initially on loan, in 2014. He later joined Inter Milan on loan before switching to Italian rival Juventus in 2018. He joined City a year later.

Last year, Cancelo extended his contract at City to 2027.

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The Associated Press

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