MANCHESTER CITY are pushing to sign Shakhtar Donetsk star Fred ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal.
City boss Pep Guardiola is looking to add a defensive midfielder to his ranks as back up to Fernandinho, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Fernandinho turns 33 this year and is close to signing a new deal, while Yaya Toure who has hardly featured this term is expected to leave after eight seasons at the club.
The Premier League leaders have started talks with the Ukrainian outfit with a view to the 24-year-old agreeing a switch in the summer.
That would suit both parties as Shakhtar are still in the Champions League and he would be ineligible if he moved to the Etihad this month.
Talks between the clubs have been going since last year and the City top brass will not want a repeat of the Alexis Sanchez saga and miss out on another top target.
Shakhtar chief executive Sergei Palkin travelled to Manchester last December for more talks while the clubs faced off in the Champions League back in Ukraine.
The pair have done business before – Fernandinho move to City for £30million in 2013, but this deal is expected to cost around £40million.
Guardiola was impressed with the Brazilian international when they played each other and Fred admits he would love to play for the Catalan coach.
He told Gazetta dello Sport: “A friend gave me the news saying that City and Guardiola were interested in me.
“At the exit of the locker room, he (Guardiola) stopped me and said we had a good game.
“However, I confess, I wait impatiently for his call to arrive now. I think I would grow a lot with him.
“England is the best league in the world and I’ve always dreamed of playing there.”
Fred’s career has not been without controversy.
He tested positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide while playing for Brazil at the Copa America in 2015.