By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Manchester City are preparing a £7 million summer move for teenage Lille left-back Lucas Digne, Goal.com can reveal.
The Premier League big spenders will listen to offers for Aleksandar Kolarov at the end of the season and regard France Under-18 international Digne as a potential replacement.
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City's global ambassador Patrick Vieira has scouted the 18-year-old on a number of occasions in recent months and recommended him highly to manager Roberto Mancini, as had the club’s former technical director Mike Rigg, who resigned on Friday.
Digne broke into the Lille first team last October and has established a burgeoning reputation in his homeland, where he has been tipped to become France’s future left-back since making his full league debut in February.
He has added attraction for City because, like Kolarov, he can also operate on the left side of midfield.
Although the teenager recently signed a new contract that runs until 2016, City have the means to offer greatly improved financial terms to Digne.
The Premier League club regard the Frenchman as potential back-up to Gael Clichy while he is groomed for a long-term regular starting place.
Like Belgian superstar Eden Hazard, Digne is a product of the Lille academy and regarded as mature beyond his years.
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Mancini made no attempt to hide his admiration of Hazard after he was spotted last month making a personal check on the £30m-rated playmaker.
But City sources believe a swoop for Digne is far more straightforward than landing Hazard, who is also coveted by most of Europe’s elite clubs.
Kolarov is likely to be sold to free up space on the wage-bill and in the first-team squad for Digne.
The Serbian, a £17m signing from Lazio in the summer of 2010, has started only nine Premier League matches for City this season, while Clichy has made 21 starts and a total of 28 in all competitions.
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