Set to surrender their Premier League title with a whimper this season, Manchester City are already making plans to rebuild their squad next term.
And with mass spending power at their disposal, the Citizens have made initial contact with much-coveted Santos star Neymar.
The 21-year-old forward is valued at £55m by his current club, and City appear willing to stump up such a hefty fee to land one of world football’s hottest properties.
Indeed, top Etihad executives Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain have already held preliminary talks with Neymar’s executives, during Brazil’s 2-1 defeat to England at Wembley in early February.
His Santos deal expires in summer 2014, by which time his value could have considerably inflated, considering he is expected to light up the World Cup of that year for host nation Brazil.
However, his current employers are unlikely to run the risk of losing their prize asset to an uncertain tribunal fee, and thus could cash in on the flamboyant attacker this summer.
City are not the only well-renowned club in the hunt for Neymar however.
Catalan giants Barcelona have long been linked with the player, and Barca right-back Dani Alves, an international team-mate of Neymar, has reportedly been in the player’s ear for some time.
In the company of the likes of Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi though, Neymar would not necessarily be given the top billing that his ego would seem to crave at the Nou Camp.
By contrast, he would be a standout star at City, and would most likely command the top wages at the Etihad Stadium.
With his image rights worth a fortune, and his marketability as the most exciting player of a new Brazilian generation, Neymar would prove a shrewd commercial investment for any club.
As such, he could theoretically pay for himself in the long run, should City be able to push through a deal for the striker.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.