Manchester City set to win £9m 'Balkan Lionel Messi' chase

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Football News

Manchester City look set to beat out fierce competition from Manchester United and Real Madrid to sign Dinamo Zagreb wonderkid Alen Halilovic, who has been dubbed the 'Balkan Lionel Messi', according to

The Premier League champions could only draw as Real Madrid visited the Emirates Stadium last night, in the process extinguishing their faint Champions League hopes, but Roberto Mancini looks to have beaten the La Liga champions, and Manchester United, to the signing of Halilovic.

The 16-year-old midfielder is the latest star to have graduated from the Zagreb academy, following in the footsteps of the likes of Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar and Vedran Corluka.

Manchester City representatives have flown to Zagreb, and have been working on a deal since Monday. The report claims an agreement is now in place for a total package that could be worth as much as £9m.

Tipped as the best Balkan player of his generation, Halilovic made his first-team bow earlier this season, and just over a week later became the youngest goalscorer in the Croatian league's history.

The teenager has already made his Champions League debut, and made another appearance last night in the last few minutes of Zagreb's tie against Porto.

Manchester United and Real Madrid were both expected to compete for the signature of Halilovic, and United in particular were thought to be keen to bring the Croatia under-17 international to Old Trafford.

Check out his latest goal here, a stunner against NK Zadar last week...

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