Manchester City are reportedly closing in on a massive £20 million deal to sign Velez Sarsfield wonderkid Thiago Almada, dubbed the new Lionel Messi.

According to The Sun, Manchester City are desperate to land Thiago Almada, the wonder boy dubbed the next Lionel Messi back in his homeland. The Argentinean is currently a part of Argentine club Velez Sarsfield and is being eyed by the Premier League holders for a summer transfer.

Thiago Almada has already broken into the Velez Sarsfield first-team setup in 2018. The current season has seen the youngster clock in 741 minutes on the pitch in a total of 16 senior appearances, with a return of 3 goals and 2 assists, which is decent considering most of his appearances have come from the bench.

Short in stature and technically gifted like the Argentine icon he is being compared to, Almada does bear striking resemblance to Lionel Messi in terms of his build, playing position and playing style. Fluid on the ball, Almada is already drawing interest from Manchester City, with the player reportedly considered the best talent in his region right now in his generation.

Another contender for the 'next Lionel Messi' tag? (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Another contender for the ‘next Lionel Messi’ tag? (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester City have had a history of trying to land Lionel Messi. There were reports of Messi being the prime target for the Manchester-based club. But, the Argentinean has always pledged his loyalty to Barcelona. While City might not be able to land Messi, they have an extensive scouting team back in Latin America to unearth talents like him and pounce on the opportunity.

City might have a problem brewing in terms of their finances. FIFA are set to look into their finances and transfers, which could result in a transfer ban. But, according to the report, the scout reports have left Pep Guardiola so impressed that he is ready for the youngster to be bagged by feeder club Girona, if City are hit by a transfer ban in the near future, before ultimately making his way to the blue half of Manchester.

The tag of being the next Lionel Messi comes with a burden. And while the 17-year-old will be oblivious to all this currently, focusing only on making himself a mainstay at Velez Sarsfield and climbing the proverbial ladder in world football, it also shows how highly-regarded Almada already is within his homeland, with Europe also starting to get a sniff of it.

Manchester City have had a huge success in their youth recruitment policies, producing players like Brahim Diaz, Phil Foden and Kelechi Iheanacho so far. The Citizens will now be looking to make Almada the next big thing. £20 million might look hefty for a 17-year-old.

But, it will be a measly price to pay if Almada goes on to do even a portion of justice to the tag of being the new Lionel Messi.

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