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The young forward is wanted by the Italian manager and his new sporting director Txiki Begiristain as they look to bolster the Citizens' squad, but they expect strong competition

Manchester City look set to embark on a big-money pursuit of Brazilian attacker Neymar as the Premier League champions attempt to bolster their attacking options, although manager Roberto Mancini anticipates stiff competition for the highly coveted 20-year-old's signature.

Santos superstar Neymar is expected to be the poster boy for the 2014 World Cup in his homeland and comes with a £50 million price-tag.

City's new sporting director Txiki Begiristain has been tasked with luring him to Manchester, though Mancini is coy about his club's chances of securing a deal, acknowledging that at least one other major player is in the race should Neymar opt for a move to Europe.

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“I don’t know if it is true that Barcelona have already made a down-payment for Neymar,” Mancini told reporters after his side’s 0-0 draw against West Ham.

“I think when Txiki starts to work here next week we can start to talk about the future for us because this is very important.

“Neymar is a Santos player and I don’t know what can happen with him in the future.”

Mancini is looking forward to working with Begiristain, also concealing a hint of criticism aimed at former sporting director Brian Marwood with whom he shared a strained relationship.

“But I am very happy to work now with the new sporting director because he gives us the chance to move very quickly regarding some players,” Mancini added.

“If we work well together then the next three or four years for Manchester City can be very strong.”

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