Barcelona & Manchester City in race for starlet

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Manchester City are determined to pip Barcelona to the signing of Argentinian goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

Rulli, 22, currently plays for Argentina's Estudiantes but is considered by Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino as a potential long-term replacement for Victor Valdes, who will leave the Nou Camp at the end of this season.

However, with Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini still unsure about current first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart, the Chilean is expected to make a move.

It's reported that Porto and Benfica are also keen on Rulli, who admits he is flattered by reports linking him with a move to Barcelona in particular.

"It is with great pride that I see myself linked with a team like Barcelona, but I know nothing," he recently commented. "It is important that I focus on other things. I will look to my goal, which is to play well in the next match against Atletico Rafaela.

"I don't know anything about the Barcelona link. Everything I know I have learned from the press."

The interested clubs will be pleased to hear that Estuadiantes are open to the ideal of selling Rulli in the January transfer window.

Estudiantes boss Enrique Lombard admitted that if they receive a good enough offer, then they will "consider selling to balance our finances."

Rulli has been described by Estudiantes assistant coach Xavi Tamarit as "spectacular".

"He's very young and, for that reason, he has many things to improve, but he has great prospects. He's very, very good," Tamarit added. He has amazing reflexes, he's good one-on-one, and has excellent timing.

"He also dominates with the ball at his feet and with his positioning. But his reflexes are outstanding."

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