Manchester City lead race for Barca starlet

Barcelona attacker Gerard DeulofeuManchester City are closing in on an £8.1m deal for Barcelona youngster Gerard Deulofeu, according to reports from the Daily Mail.

Chelsea were thought to be the most likely destination for the 18-year-old, but Roberto Di Matteo’s departure has seen interest from the Blues decline.

This has left City in pole position and it’s believed that they are willing to double the player’s weekly wage in order to tempt him away from Spain.

Deulofeu is seen by members of the Barca staff as the new Lionel Messi, thanks to his reading of the game and ability on the ball.

However, he could be available at a knockdown price due to only having a youth contract with the club.

This would see a fee of £8.1 million trigger a clause to allow him to leave.

It’s believed that the La Liga giants are willing to offer him a new deal, but the Spaniard is stalling as he fears for his first-team chances.

He has made brief appearance in the league and Champions League this season, but would struggle to get ahead of the likes of Lionel Messi for a regular starting berth in his preferred attacking role.

This has alerted Manchester City, who are keen to build for the future.