Dinamo Zagreb sporting director Zoran Mamic has insisted no deal has been reached with Manchester City for the sale of Alen Halilovic and says the Premier League champions will have to pay more than the widely reported fee of £9 million.
Halilovic – who has been dubbed the ‘Balkan Messi’ – is the latest graduate from an academy which has previously produced stars such as Luka Modric, Vedran Corluka and Niko Kranjcar.
But, in the wake of reports that the 16-year-old could be set for a move to the Etihad Stadium, Mamic joked that City would be lucky to get one of the wonderkid’s legs for the £9m fee currently being touted.
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“There's no deal [with Manchester City],” he told Croatian newspaper sportske.jutarnji.hr.
“We cannot talk about something that hasn't happened yet. But the figure that is mentioned in the English media [£9 million] - for that kind of money we wouldn't even sell his left leg!”
Halilovic became the youngest ever player to debut in the Croatian top-flight when he made an appearance from the substitutes’ bench during his side’s 3-1 victory over bitter rivals Hajduk Split in September.
A mere 10 days later, he broke another record to become the youngest-ever goalscorer in the league with a glorious chip in a 4-1 win against Slaven Belupo.