Saturday 17 November 2018

City's move for Jorginho hits snag as Napoli play hard ball

Napoli's Jorginho. Photo: Getty Images
Napoli's Jorginho. Photo: Getty Images

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City's hopes of avoiding a bidding war over transfer target Jorginho are decreasing by the day as Napoli stall over an asking price.

Pep Guardiola wants to strengthen his midfield during the summer, finding a long-term replacement for Yaya Toure and, eventually, Fernandinho.

Julian Weigl of Borussia Dortmund and Fred of Shakhtar Donetsk were both considered, with City even lodging a bid for the Brazilian in January, but their thinking has changed and Jorginho, a Brazilian-born Italy international, is now their first choice.

City hoped to get a deal done swiftly after the end of the season to give their new signing time to learn about Guardiola's technical expectations, but Napoli have postponed a meeting with Jorginho's agent, Joao Santos, until later this week.

Personal terms

Santos is on the record previously as saying that, should City agree a fee with the club, then they will get their man, with personal terms understood to have been agreed.

Yet every day that passes makes the deal more likely to be hijacked, with former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri understood to be interested in taking over at Chelsea.

Should Sarri be installed at Stamford Bridge, Napoli have visions of a Premier League tug-of-war increasing Jorginho's price - something City are understandably keen to avoid.

City are also in the market for a wide forward and may make a fresh bid for Riyad Mahrez, having failed to sign him in the winter transfer window.

Guardiola is also considering Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey and, ambitiously, Paris St-Germain's on-loan star Kylian Mbappe, but a deal for Mbappe would rely on PSG encountering significant Financial Fair Play issues and remains highly unlikely.

© Independent News Service

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