From Portugal: ‘Strong conviction’ that Manchester City are close to signing forward

Manchester City appear close to landing one of Portugal’s most exciting talents in years after holding talks for Rafael Leão, the wonderkid who has been turning heads at Sporting CP.

UK journalist Duncan Castles revealed that there had been progress in City’s pursuit of the 19-year-old and now, from Portugal, comes further evidence that things are happening.

The Record newspaper in an exclusive story today says Leão’s representatives have recently visited England for talks with City. The outcome was positive and there is now a ‘strong conviction’ that Rafael Leão will soon become a Manchester City player.

The numbers involved are difficult to predict. Like a host of other players following an attacking on the club’s training ground, Leão rescinded his contract and walked out of the club. Some, including Bruno Fernandes and Bas Dost, have since returned and signed new deals – something it was speculated that Leão would do.

Others like Rui Patricio, Gelson Martins and William Carvalho have left the club, but not on free transfers, with their new sides negotiating fees with Sporting to avoid legal issues.

City reportedly proposed €25million earlier this year for Leão, prompting Sporting to try and renew the youngster’s contract with a new €45million clause. Leão is considered to have enormous potential, with some comparing his talent level to Kylian Mbappé, and the Portuguese club felt they would soon be able to command a huge fee for him.

The Blues have only made one major signing this summer – Riyad Mahrez – but adding Rafael Leão to Claudio Gomes, Adriá Bernabé, Ben Knight and Jayden Braaf would mean they have recruited some of the most exciting young talent available. And Leão, like Gomes, could be a candidate to quickly join Pep Guardiola’s first team squad should this deal go through.

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