Manchester City chase £16.2m Liverpool Spanish playmaker target

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Manchester City's new director of football Txiki Begiristain has identified Real Betis star Benat as his first transfer target, according to

The Spain star has impressed for the La Liga side, and was recently rewarded with a call-up to the Spain squad. The 25-year-old has three caps for his country, and the creative midfielder has been linked with a move away from the Sevilla-based club.

Manchester City recently appointed Begiristain, who previously worked at Barcelona, as the Premier League champions continue to reshape their backroom staff.

The report suggests the ex-Barca employee's new role at City is to identify the best talent from across the world's top leagues, and Roberto Mancini is understood to have been briefed on Benat.

The 25-year-old operates as a holding midfielder, and has been compared to Spain teammate Javi Martinez, although Benat is thought to be a more accomplished player going forward than the Bayern Munich star.

But Manchester City already have an abundance of midfielders, having only signed Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell in the summer, to go along with Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure.

Benat reportedly has a €20m (£16.2m) release clause, and is under contract with Betis until 2014.

Arsenal and Liverpool have also been credited with an interested in the Spanaird, but Manchester City are more likely to be able to offer Benat a more attractive financial package.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has confirmed he is looking to make signings when the transfer window reopens in January, and Benat was believed to be one of the players he wanted to bring to Anfield.

But Liverpool will face competition from Manchester City, and from Begiristain - City's new dealmaker.

At Barcelona, Begiristain orchestrated the deals that brought Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Dani Alves to the Nou Camp.

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