Manchester City are gaining a foothold in the South American market, with deals for Gabriel Jesus, Marlos Moreno and Gerónimo Rulli sewn up or being worked on. The English league has always struggled to attract talents directly from South America, with Spain, Italy and Portugal often the preferred destinations, but now clubs such as City are in the mix for the region’s emerging players.
20-year-old goalkeeper Axel Werner of Argentine side Atlético Rafaela is another starlet City have tried to recruit this summer, but have come up just short. According to both AS and Mundo Deportivo, City made a concrete attempt to sign the young shot-stopper, but have lost the race to Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid.
City made an bid for the highly-rated ‘keeper, but Atléti’s offer of €800,000 (£670,000) was enough to clinch a deal. Werner is currently with the Argentina U23 team ahead of the Rio Olympics, where new City signing and fellow goalkeeper, Gerónimo Rulli, is set to feature. Had City’s bid for Werner been successful, they would have signed both of Argentina’s Olympic goalkeepers in the same summer.
Although City lost this particular race, it is proof again that the club’s scouting network in the area, led by Joan Patsy, former advisor and close friend to Johan Cruyff, is functioning very well now and will continue to identify young talents who could one day feature at the Etihad Stadium.