Manchester United are on the verge of missing out on Portuguese starlet Venancio da Silva Monteiro after it emerged the talented teenager is considering an offer from Manchester City.
According to the Daily Mail, the 15-year-old winger has been training with the Red Devils since April, and looked set to sign a youth team contract at Old Trafford in the coming weeks.
Monteiro was initially unable to play for Manchester United's development squad, due to a hold up in the required paperwork being signed off following his arrival from Benfica. However, he is understood to have made a positive impression in training, and several coaches at the club's Carrington training base hold high hopes about the youngster's future.
Louis van Gaal is renown for his nurturing and development of up-and-coming talent, so Manchester United would probably have been an ideal place for Monteiro to continue progressing in the formative years of his evolution into a fully fledged professional footballer.
The Dutch coach has already handed first-team opportunities to a number of academy players in 2014/15, calling up several uncapped prospects to act as cover during the Red Devils' defensive injury crisis earlier this term.
Article continues below
Tyler Blackett, Paddy McNair and James Wilson have all profited from Van Gaal's philosophy, but it's Wilson's rise which has perhaps been the most surprising given the strength and depth of Manchester United's front line.
The 19-year-old has been promoted into the senior squad as fourth choice striker behind Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, after being regarded by Van Gaal as a more exciting option than either Danny Welbeck or Javier Hernandez, who both departed during the summer.
With that in mind it's assumed that Monteiro would look favourably upon his chances of a senior breakthrough at Old Trafford, and Manchester United were believed to be in advanced negotiations with the player and his father about committing to the club. But, it's now emerged that the pair are also in talks over a prospective switch to the Etihad Stadium.
The Citizens are investing money at all levels as they look to recruit the brightest young talent from all around the world with a view to increasing their production of homegrown players through the academy and into Manuel Pellegrini's first-team.
Monteiro, a left-footed attacking midfielder, is highly rated in his native Portugal, and his departure from Estadio da Luz was regarded as a huge blow to Benfica, so whoever manages to secure his signature will be celebrating a significant transfer coup.