Manchester City are edging closer to signing a youngster who has been on their radar since at least February, the Portugal under-21 wonderkid Rafael Leão, Duncan Castles reports.
Recent reports that Borussia Dortmund had won the race for the prodigious 19-year-old proved to be false, despite the player actually visiting Dortmund to fuel speculation he was joining the Bundesliga giants.
And in recent days, stories in Portugal have claimed that Leão will join the growing number of players to return to Sporting CP following a regime change.
However, according to Castles, who was first to report on City’s interest in Leão, City representatives held talks with the player’s camp this week and are getting closer to a deal.
Understand that Manchester City have made progress in their attempt to sign Portugal under-21 international Rafael Leao following a meeting this week. #MCFC #SCP #PORhttps://t.co/0l3rK9OvRq pic.twitter.com/uTtWPj0eDo
— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) July 24, 2018
It is likely that the Blues would compensate Sporting in some way to avoid legal trouble, after Leão was one of many players to rescind their contracts following an attack on the club’s training ground.
Leão is not short of interest, with neighbours Manchester United as well as Chelsea alleged to have been keen, in addition to Dortmund, but if City were able to get a deal over the line this would be a huge coup. The Portugal under-21 international is highly-rated to such a degree that some believe he has Kylian Mbappé level potential.
His appearances mostly came for Sporting B last season in Portugal’s second tier and the UEFA Youth League, with 6’2″ tall Leão scoring for fun and proving he belonged at a higher level. Sporting began to integrate their great young hope into the first-team fold, presenting him with a handful of appearances. He grabbed one of his chances, scoring against arch-rivals FC Porto in a 2-1 defeat.