By Greg Stobart
Manchester City are lining up a move for Barcelona wonderkid Jean Marie Dongou, Goal.com has learned.
New City director of football Txiki Begiristain has intimate knowledge of the Barcelona academy having held the same role for seven years at the Camp Nou and has identified the Cameroonian striker as the most exciting player emerging at the Spanish giants.
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"Since last summer Dongou's name has been sounded out for Manchester City and there's been links to Chelsea as well.
His contract will end in June 2013 and he belongs to the Samuel Eto'o's Foundation, with a market value of around £1 million.
Barcelona do, however, want to keep the player as he's considered one of the more promising stars for the future. He's a great goalscorer and also the only real central striker from La Masia.
He is held in high regard at Camp Nou and that's led to some of the press reporting that the club would prefer not to purchase Fernando Llorente as they trust Dongou will develop into a first-team player."
Dongou has been hailed as the ‘next Samuel Eto’o’ since joining the famous La Masia academy at the age of 13, impressing with his touch, power, pace and eye for goal.
He has made 10 appearances for Barcelona B in the Segunda Division so far this season - five as a substitute - as the Catalan club look to ease him through to the first-team.
Yet City are ready to come in with a huge financial offer for a player they believe could one day be worth more than £30 million.
Begiristain started in his new role this week after being re-united with former Barcelona vice-chairman Ferran Soriano, who was appointed as City's new chief executive in August as the club went ahead with restructuring plans exclusively revealed by Goal.com in January.
As they plan a transfer strategy to comply with Uefa’s financial fair play regulations, City are looking to cherry-pick the best talent from Spain, especially youngsters at Barcelona, while simultaneously improving the first-team.
Goal.com has recently revealed how Malaga playmaker Isco and Real Betis midfielder Benat will be leading targets to improve Roberto Mancini’s side in the January transfer window.
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