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Sending Joao Cancelo on Loan Could be Pep Guardiola’s Biggest Mistake this Season

A look at the mercurial fullback and Pep’s plan.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

When Pep Guardiola and Manchester City let Joao Cancelo leave for Bayern Munich in January, it was surprising.

However, with talk to the Portuguese being disruptive to the team and a bad influence, the general feeling among City faithful was that of relief. Many thought it was the best decision for the team given the suspected reasons at the time.

The right-back was thought to have become a bad apple that needed to be removed in order not to spoil the whole basket. The overall health of the team was more important, after all.

But the 28 year-old later revealed in an interview that he left by mutual agreement as a result of the lack of sufficient game time and that there was no rift or bad blood between him and his manager. With that revelation, it was now clear that the initial version of the story was inaccurate to put it as politely as possible. The defender was actually not a bad influence on the team despite wanting to play more.

Pep Guardiola could not guarantee him more game time but wanted him to be happy. Both parties reached a conclusion after holding discussions that the best option for all parties was for the player to move elsewhere. He ended up leaving for Bayern Munich as the German giants sought to add another experienced player to their star-studded squad.

Now with the German side the right-back seems to have been reborn. He is flying at the moment and was the star man for Portugal during the international break. Although Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed the headlines (as he always does) by scoring and breaking records for his country, Cancelo was the real MVP.

Against Liechtenstein, he scored and set up goals as Portugal won 4-0. Even more impressive was the way in which he was gliding across the pitch from defense to attack.

In six German Bundesliga appearances for the Bavarians so far, he has scored once and set up two goals. Two outings in the Champions League for the side have also yielded an assist. These numbers speak to the player’s value as a very productive member of the squad. He is not one to let go so easily. Especially to a rival.

But what if City went on to pummel Bayern Munich and knock them out of the UCL? What if the Blues were to go all the way in the competition and end up achieving their best season under the Catalan manager?

No one would care that Cancelo left the Etihad Stadium for Germany in the middle of the season. The player himself could even regret the decision as it may have cost him a Champions League medal.

But what if events take a totally different turn? He now has a point to prove for Bayern Munich in order to secure a permanent move to the side in the summer. Playing against the Cityzens in the Champions League could be costly for City in the end. Cancelo helping the German side to knock the Blues out of the Champions League would make a great story for the tabloids.

With the media waiting for the chance to chew both Guardiola and City raw, that will provide the perfect opportunity to have them for breakfast. The storm generated may cause the Etihad Stadium hot seat to become even hotter for the Catalan manager.

It could be Guardiola’s biggest mistake this season.