Manchester City have reportedly turned their attentions to Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior, after suffering a setback in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland.
Vinicius is enjoying a stellar campaign with Carlo Ancelotti’s side, contributing an outstanding 15 goals and ten assists in 28 appearances in all competitions.
Karim Benzema is the only player within Los Blancos who has scored more goals than the 21-year-old Brazilian.
Nevertheless, Vinicius’ impressive form and outstanding improvement has reportedly caught the attention of Pep Guardiola.
Reports from EL Nacional understand the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager has identified him as a possible alternative to hitman Haaland.
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Spanish based outlet AS understands the 21-year-old striker favours a move to the Bernabeu rather than the Etihad Stadium.
The imperious Norwegian’s has amassed an incredible 21 goals and ten assists in just 19 appearances in all competitions for Marco Rose’s side.
And he could have accumulated even more goals, had his campaign not been disrupted by hip and muscles injuries which saw him miss six Bundesliga matches.
Haaland’s goalscoring record and underrated ability to create chances for his team mates has seen him become one of the hottest properties on planet earth.
While Dortmund have not given up hope in convincing the precocious 21-year-old to stay at the Signal Iduna Park, Haaland’s future beyond this campaign appears to be elsewhere.
At the end of the season, the striker will be available for the bargain price of £68m, due to a release clause inputted by his agent Mino Raiola.
AS also believes Guardiola has instructed his club chiefs to cast their hat into the mix to sign him, but they face plenty of competition.
Manchester United, Barcelona, Chelsea, and Paris Saint-Germain are also expected to be in the running for his illusive signature.
However, the news that Haaland wants to play at the newly refurbished Bernabeu stadium would have come as a huge blow to City.
Guardiola is still yet to bring in a striker to replace Sergio Aguero, who departed the club to join Barcelona, before his premature retirement in December.
City desperately tried to sign Tottenham Hotspur hitman Harry Kane, but the obstinance and stubbornness of Spurs chairman Daniel Levy proved to be too big of an obstacle.
Having also lost Ferran Torres to Xavi’s side, Guardiola’s striker situation has only been exacerbated.
However, Guardiola’s apparent interest and consideration in Vinicius suggests he has learned from the lessons of the summer transfer window, where City appeared devoid of alternative options.
While he is more naturally a winger, Vinicius is clocking up goalscoring statistics of some of the best strikers in the game.
Moreover, it is possible that the Brazilian international, who has nine caps for his country, is also being considered as a replacement for Raheem Sterling.
Reports from Spanish news outlet SPORT claimed the Englishman has informed Manchester City of a desire to leave the club.
Barcelona have frequently been linked with a move for the former Liverpool forward, but such a transfer would be unlikely after Torres’ departure.