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Manchester City scout Barcelona’s “Korean Messi” at U20 World Cup ahead of possible bid

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Manchester City have a large scouting presence at the ongoing FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea, and is one of the hosts’ players that is catching the eye of City talent-spotters.

Nicknamed the “Korean Messi”, 19-year-old attacker Lee Seung-woo plays for FC Barcelona and is one of the many great talents at La Masia, but has recently been linked with a move away. At the U20 World Cup, he found the net against Argentina and Guinea, putting in a string of impressive performances.

And according to Korean source Donga, Manchester City scouts are showing quite an extensive interest in him, leading to speculation that the Premier League club may try to sign him soon.

In the case of Lee Seung-woo, City have made a “Scout Call”, which is interpreted as the stage before full-fledged contact is made with the player’s representatives. A work permit would be an issue if City did sign Lee, although they could apply for a “special talent” exception.

Another problem is the transfer fee, with Lee having a €12 million (£10.4 million) release clause, something that even a wealthy club such as Man City would be reluctant to shell out for a youngster with no first-team experience yet. However, City may try to negotiate the fee down by holding talks with Barcelona.

There is also interest from Bundesliga sides Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Levekusen, while clubs from France and Portugal have also been making their interest known in the exciting Korean starlet.

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