The Premier League champions dispatched chief scout Gary Worthington to watch Willian, as City scour Europe in an effort to add more creativity to their team. But they face competition from the European champions, and Chelsea are still thought to be keen to bring the Shakhtar star to Stamford Bridge.
Roberto Mancini has reportedly identified the 24-year-old as a potential target for the January transfer window, but, after a number of impressive performances in the Champions League, Chelsea and Tottenham are believed to monitoring the midfielder.
The Ukrainian giants paid Corinthians £15m in 2007 to bring a then 18-year-old Willian to Eastern Europe. And the attacking midfielder has since gone on to establish himself as a top player among a vibrant Brazilian community in eastern Ukraine.
Willian is one of nine Brazilians at Shakhtar, and the 24-year-old has two caps for his country, which could make a work permit an issue.
Shakhtar's qualification for the Champions League knock-out round makes it unlikely that Willian will move in January - the report suggests summer could be a more realistic target - but Chelsea, City and Spurs could look to strike early in the New Year to beat the competition.
Chelsea have a strong Brazilian contingent at Stamford Bridge, including Lucas Piazon, David Luiz, Ramires and Oscar, while Spurs have Sandro and Manchester City Maicon.