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Manchester City: Negotiations continue with Velez Sarsfield over Thiago Almada

Manchester City: Negotiations continue with Velez Sarsfield over Thiago Almada

Manchester City are in talks with Argentine club Velez Sarsfield over the potential signing of teenage forward Thiago Almada.

Portuguese media outlet Record reported [via Sport Witness] that negotiations between the two clubs are continuing, with Sporting Lisbon hopeful that they will get the player on loan if he is signed by the Premier League champions.

O Jogo reported that Manchester City’s initial bid of €10million (£9m) was rejected by Velez, but with the Argentine club struggling to amend his €16m (£14.46m) release clause to €25m (£22.6m) according to Sport Witness, Pep Guardiola’s side could get the 18-year-old for less than his current club’s valuation.

In an interview with the print edition of O Jogo [via Sport Witness], former Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli spoke of Almada’s instinctive style of play.

He said: “Thiago sees football from a free imagination, without ties, and this allows him to distinguish himself from those who are stuck only to a pre-established play.

“He understands what the play needs at that moment and this comes naturally to him, without effort, spontaneously.”

Almada, who usually plays as an attacking midfielder or centre forward but can also operate on either flank, broke through to Velez Sarsfield’s first team last season, scoring three goals and providing two assists in 16 games.

A SoccerSouls scout report on the 18-year-old compared him to Lionel Messi for his “explosive style of play combined with clever skills“.

The same scout report alluded to how Almada is comfortable with the ball on either foot, can score from long range and is adept at taking free kicks and penalties.

The latter point is noteworthy as, out of 147 shots from corners and free-kicks by Manchester City in 2018/19, only 12 ended in goals. Just 16% of their goals last season came from set-pieces, the lowest in the Premier League. However, Manchester City’s 15 league goals from outside the box were the most of any club in the division.

Guardiola’s team have an abundance of players who are predominantly left-footed – Manchester City’s official website noted this trait in Benjamin Mendy, Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and David Silva. Almada’s comfort on his right would help to redress this potential imbalance in Manchester City’s squad.

Almada seems to have plenty of strong attributes to his game already and, at 18, any imperfections in his game can obviously be worked upon.

However, he would be very unlikely to go straight into Manchester City’s first-team – youngsters like Patrick Roberts, Jack Harrison, Douglas Luiz and Aleix Garcia were all loaned out last season.

Now is a good time for Guardiola to sign him while he can still get him on the cheap, and with further development on loan elsewhere in Europe, Almada could subsequently come back to the Etihad an even stronger player than he already appears to be.

Manchester City fans, do you think Almada would be a good signing for the future? Let us know your views by commenting below!

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