Manchester City have reportedly stolen a march on Chelsea and Arsenal in the pursuit of Hoffenheim’s Brazilian international forward Roberto Firmino.
The 23-year-old has been earning rave reviews for his performances at the Bundesliga Bournemouth over the past two campaigns, culminating in a first call-up for the Selecao in October 2014.
Now the Daily Star report ‘City officials have held advanced talks with ‘Hoffenheim bosses and Firmino’s representatives and are confident of closing a deal’.
The paper suggests that the Brazilian ‘is seen as someone who can help plug the gap set to be left at City by the departing Yaya Toure’.
Toure, who remains an enigmatic talisman at the Etihad, is 8/5 to bag in a Sky Blue win against QPR.
He has operated at number ten for Markus Gisdol’s men for the majority of this season, earmarking him as a player who could replace the Ivorian in his attacking guise.
However, Firmino was arguably more effective for his club in the 2013/14 campaign, in which he operated on the left-hand side of an attacking of 4-2-3-1.
This season the four-cap, two-goal international has plundered six goals and nine assists from his central berth behind Adam Szalai in 31 league games.
Yet, last term he obliterated that yield when stationed out wide, with 16 strikes and 11 set-ups in 33 domestic divisional outings.
If the Citizens are as in love with the recent Canarinho inductee as the Daily Star suggest and seek to play him in his most dangerous position then his purchase will have a host of repercussions at the Etihad.
The first might be the abandonment of the kind of 4-4-2 that sees David Silva shunted out wide left.
Instead the Spaniard could be played as a number ten with Firmino outside him in a three behind the central striker.
A second might be the marginalisation of Samir Nasri, who would find himself second choice in both of his favoured roles within the side.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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