Manchester City have suffered a setback after teenage midfielder Thiago Almada signed a new four-year deal at Velez Sarsfield.
The 18-year-old is rated one of the hottest prospects in Argentina and was keen on a move to the Etihad, with his agent even visiting the City Football Academy earlier this summer.
A deal was thought to be close until his club demanded a fee of £22m – around £10m more than the Citizens were originally led to believe he would cost.
Sarsfield have also handed Almada a major pay upgrade and reports in his homeland have stated a new £35m release clause has been inserted, in the hope of now keeping him at the club for the foreseeable future.
It is understood, however, that City maintain a strong interest in the starlet and will continue to monitor his form, with their South American scouts convinced he is a future star.
Almada’s dribbling abilities have drawn the inevitable comparisons to Lionel Messi, but there is a reason boss Pep Guardiola was pushing hard to bring him to England.
He hails from Ciudadela, the same tough Buenos Aires district as former City and Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez, with a belligerent single-mindedness to match.
Spanish giants Atletico Madrid have courted Almada, but the lure of playing under Guardiola had even seemingly trumped the charm offensive conducted by their fellow countryman boss Diego Simeone.
City have not been shy in splashing big cash on fledgling talents under Guardiola, with Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus underlining their early promise since landing in the Premier League.
There is a feeling Almada might not have felt completely ready to leave Argentina at this stage and wants to continue developing before making a big move to Europe.
City already struggle to afford regular playing opportunities to homegrown midfielder Phil Foden, so Almada’s representatives are likely to have weighed up all advantages and disadvantages before deciding their client was better served at this time by penning the new agreement.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.