MANCHESTER CITY hope to buy Argentina starlet Thiago Almada — dubbed the new Lionel Messi — in a £20million deal.

And City are so keen to land the Velez Sarsfield prospect they are even willing to let Spanish partner club Girona take him first if they are hit by a Fifa transfer ban.

Spies for boss Pep Guardiola have made attacking midfielder Almada a top target for the summer, despite the fact he only turns 18 on Friday.

City are prepared to pay a huge fee for Almada because that would help get him a work permit if they can do the deal.