Manchester City looks set to embark on a big-money pursuit of Neymar as it attempts to bolster its attacking options, but Roberto Mancini anticipates stiff competition for the striker's signature.
Newly-appointed sporting director Txiki Begiristain has been tasked with luring the sought-after Brazilian star to the Etihad Stadium, though the English champions' boss is coy about their chances of securing a deal, acknowledging that at least one other major club is in the race should the Brazilian opt for a move to Europe.
“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.
“I am very happy to [commence] work 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.”