MANCHESTER CITY are battling to keep youngster Brahim Diaz with Real Madrid ready to pounce, according to reports.
Diaz, 19, is highly-rated at the Etihad and with just a year left on his current deal, a host of clubs are on red alert.
The Evening Standard claims the Spaniard, regarded as one of the hottest teenagers on the continent could return home to join the European champions.
Alongside Phil Foden, Diaz has been earmarked as a star of the future and nailed on to make a permanent breakthrough into Pep Guardiola’s first-team set up.
Diaz made ten appearances as City walked the title last season, and has featured just once this term so far in the Community Shield win over Chelsea.
The attacking midfielder snubbed a move to City-owned La Liga side Girona after telling Guardiola he wanted to fight for first-team opportunities with the Premier League champions.
But chances could be limited this season with the array of attacking talent at the City boss’ disposal as they look to defend the title.
Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gudogan and Foden are all struggling for regular game time, leaving Diaz in a fight just to get on the subs bench this term.
City lost Jadon Sancho last year to Borussia Dortmund.
The winger snubbed a new deal as he could not see a pathway to the first-team at the club.
Chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak has been clear in his intention to see at least one youth player making their first team breakthrough each season.
Interestingly, Diaz is represented by Pep’s brother, Pere Guardiola, and it would not go down well among the club top brass if a family member of the head coach took an academy prospect to the Bernabeu.
While spending big to get them where they are now, City’s vision is a succession of kids coming through the academy to develop alongside the big money arrivals.
Guardiola has bemoaned the lack of a competitive reserve league in England’s top flight to give his emerging talent a real taste of senior football.
And with more young players in England wanting to play first-team football earlier in their career to aid their progress, the champions have a huge task on their hands convincing Diaz to extend his stay at the Etihad.
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