Bengaluru, July 22: Premier League holders Manchester City are set to clinch a £16million deal for Argentine wonder kid Thiago Almada dubbed as the new Lionel Messi.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola wants the 18-year-old midfield magician who has been likened to emulate the magic of Argentina superstar Lionel Messi in the future.
Almada is keen to come to City despite interest from rivals but he will be signed and then loaned to Sporting Lisbon for a year. City wanted to send Almada to Girona in Spain, but they were relegated. So, Portugal is seen as a decent alternative.
The teen’s club form has been outstanding, so Guardiola took a personal interest in him. The Cityzens think they need to sign Almada now rather than wait and risk a possible Fifa transfer ban.
Velez are trying to get Almada to sign a new deal with a higher release clause written in, but sources close to him suggest his heart is now set on a move to Manchester.
The Premier League champions are starting to forge strong links with Sporting, who can offer young stars game time before they are ready for the Prem champs.
Almada is rated the best young talent in his homeland and his explosive and clever skills have marked him out as the latest to be compared to Barcelona great Messi.
However, experts reckon he could be the real deal and more likely than any other player to become a world force like his fellow countryman.
Meanwhile, Guardiola has claimed he is "happy" with his defensive options, despite having just three centre-backs at the club.
The Spaniard claimed:"We are so happy with the squad we have.
"I don’t know if the players here will stay or new players will come, but I am delighted with the players we have.
"We have three incredible central defenders and Fernandinho can play in that position.”