Roberto Mancini flew to Italy to scout two South American youngsters 24 hours after Manchester City slumped to a 3-1 away defeat to Southampton, according to the Manchester Evening News.

The City boss traveled to Genoa to watch Sampdoria versus Roma, and according to the report he had his eye on two of the Italian top division's brightest teenage talents.

Sampdoria's 19-year-old forward Mauro Icardi and Roma's Brazilian defender Marquinhos were thought to be the subject of Mancini's attention, and the Argentine-born Icardi in particular impressed the City manager.

"He scored a great goal and moved very well and I must say I liked him," said Mancini.

The Argentina under-20 forward came through the youth ranks at Barcelona, before he joined Sampdoria, initially on loan, in 2011. He's scored nine goals in 19 appearances this season, as he's established himself as a key member of the side.

On January 27 he scored four in a six-goal mauling of Pescara, while two goals in a 2-1 upset of Juventus in Turin made many onlookers sit up and take notice.

Marquinhos, in contrast, plays at the back. The 18-year-old is on loan at Roma from Brazilian side Corinthians, and his performances in Rome have been so impressive that Marquinhos has displaced Argentina international Nicolas Burdisso in the club's starting lineup.

The youngster has Brazil under-17 caps, and is highly-rated by the coaches at Corinthians. Manchester City lost further ground in the title race last weekend, as Mancini's side slipped up on the south coast. To make matters worse, Manchester United beat Everton 2-0 at Old Trafford, extending their lead over the defending champions to 12 points.

 

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