Premier League

Man City close to signing 'mini Messi' from Estudiantes

17-year-old Dario Sarmiento has caught the eye in Argentina despite only playing a small amount of games

11:31am on Monday 7th September 2020
Martin Macdonald

Man City are stepping up their efforts to sign the player dubbed as the 'mini Messi' - 17-year-old Dario Sarmiento of Estudiantes.

Sarmiento has only made a handful of appearances for the Argentine side, but has already displayed enough skill for him to be compared to Lionel Messi.

His balance, dribbling ability, poise on the ball, and the fact he is left-footed have all led to comparisons with the Barcelona superstar.

Now, after failing to land Messi for real, Manchester City are hoping to find the next one with a swoop for Sarmiento.


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Two weeks ago Messi sent a fax to Barcelona requesting the termination of his contract, allowing him free to talk to other clubs. However, on Friday evening he performed a u-turn and announced he was staying at the Camp Nou.

That was disappointing news for City who had been leading the race to sign the six-time Ballon d'Or winner due to their financial might and Messi's relationship with head coach Pep Guardiola.

Former Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella, who made Messi the captain of the national side, was hugely impressed with the performances of Sarmiento and reportedly got down on his knees and praised the player as a future superstar to his face, according to ESPN.

Should City agree a deal to sign Sarmiento, he would not be able to make the move until the age of 18 which would allow him to continue his development at Estudiantes before the rigours of the Premier League.

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