Manchester clubs in battle for Brazilian striker Gabriel

Rio de Janeiro, July 24 (IANS) Manchester United have stepped up their attempt to sign Brazilian teenage striker Gabriel Jesus as a bidding war looms with Manchester City for the Palmeiras footballer.

United have offered to pay 29 million pounds ($38 million) for the 19-year-old Palmeiras striker, according to the Globoesporte news portal, reports Xinhua.

The offer is said to be around 2.5 million pounds ($3.28 million) more than that made by their cross-city rivals.

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola reportedly invited Gabriel to join them in a telephone conversation this week.

United chief coach Jose Mourinho could also speak personally to the starlet, the report said, citing sources with knowledge of negotiations.

Last month it was reported that the Brazilian’s 40-million euro ($44 million) release clause had been reduced to 24 million euros ($31.47 million) for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United or Bayern Munich.

However Manchester City’s interest is understood to have prompted Palmeiras to scrap the discount offer.

Even if a deal is struck before the close of the transfer window on August 31, Gabriel is likely to remain at Palmeiras until the end of the Brazilian Serie A season in December.

He is currently the top scorer in Brazil’s top flight with 10 goals from 14 matches and is equal third on the assists chart with four.

The forward is expected to start alongside Neymar in Brazil’s opening Rio 2016 Olympic Games fixture against South Africa on August 4.

–IANS

pur/vt

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