Manchester City are ready to turn their attention to Napoli star Jorginho, rather than continue to pursue Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred.
City had tried to agree a deal with Shakhtar in January ahead of a summer move, they wanted a deal doing before the end of the season but the Ukrainian champions were not convinced.
Fred also has strong interest from Manchester United, who have been following him for more than 12-months – and they have made it clear to his representatives that they would match any City offer.
City rarely like to be caught up in transfer auctions, and they were left reeling with the Alexis Sanchez situation in January when they refused to match the money on offer from Old Trafford and they will again not get involved over Fred.
City’s hierarchy are looking elsewhere, and Napoli’s Brazilian-born Italian international has emerged as a leading candidate.
Jorginho has been brilliant for Napoli this season, and has long been linked with England with Liverpool, Arsenal and United all credited with an interest, with Jurgen Klopp’s men reportedly favourites.
However, sources close to City have now confirmed to me they are on Jorginho’s trail, and could get a deal done quickly – with the player’s agents known to be actively pushing for a deal.
Jorginho currently has two-years left on his deal, and Napoli have insisted they want to tie him down to a new deal, but the money on offer in the Premier League means they would struggle to get anywhere near his demands.
City’s interest in Jorginho and others, means that they are ready to back away from Fred – with United now clear favourites, with their scouting department glowing about the Shakhtar man over the last season, and Jose Mourinho has already given the green-light to push ahead with doing a deal for him.
Fred’s agent is former Arsenal man Gilberto Silva, who has made it clear he wants to come to England and it seems United are in pole position.
“At the moment we are open for the market and, when you see the whole market in football, the Premier League is one of the targets,” he said.
“We had inquiries for him in the last transfer window, but it didn’t happen. The Premier League is his preferred destination.”
Bookmakers firmly believe that Jorginho is Man City-bound, with PaddyPower making him odds-on at 1/2, whilst United are now 6/4 to land Fred.