Manchester City seem likely to beat their rivals Manchester United to the signing of Serbian starlet Filip Stevanovic, according to reports.
Stevanovic was suggested as a potential target for United after facing them in the Europa League with Partizan last season.
Despite only recently turning 18, the winger has already scored 12 goals in 53 senior appearances for Partizan. If he continues his ascent, the Serbian club will struggle to keep hold of him.
Back in August, reports in his native country claimed Man Utd had agreed a deal to sign him and then send him back on loan to Partizan for the season. Such claims were later denied by sources closer to the Premier League club.
But according to the latest information, Stevanovic could end up in Manchester after all. But he will not be moving to Old Trafford.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Man City are close to signing Stevanovic instead. They could pay around £6m for the teenager in January.
City have not yet decided what they will do with Stevanovic if they sign him, but it is unlikely he would go straight into their first team. He could stay on loan at Partizan, or move to one of the many clubs in the City Football Group network.
In the long-term, Stevanovic could help fill the void left by Leroy Sane when the German moved to Bayern Munich this summer. Ferran Torres arrived at the Etihad Stadium as the immediate replacement, but City could look for another option.
That man may well be Stevanovic, who became a Serbia Under-21 international earlier this year.
Partizan boss knows they can’t keep Stevanovic forever
The Daily Mail also carry news of City’s interest, and refer back to a comment from Partizan boss Andrea Stanojevic last month about their chances of keeping the winger.
He said: “I would like Stevanovic to stay until the age of 23, but it will be difficult for him to welcome the next birthday at Partizan as things currently stand.”
Stevanovic scored in the Champions League qualifying rounds last season at the age of just 16 years and 311 days.
Just two years remain on his contract in Belgrade. Therefore, Partizan could raise some important funds by selling him to a richer club.
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