Manchester City are reported to have reached an agreement with Hajduk Split over the transfer of midfielder Ante Palaversa, ahead of a £7m move that should see the player link up with City in the summer.
The 18-year-old has made a serious impression on the first team after stepping up from the youth ranks this season, and has featured in both attacking and defensive midfield roles in his 14 appearances in the HNL so far.
Manchester City have agreed an €8m deal with Hajduk Split for Croatia U-19 captain Ante Palaversa (18), who will remain at Hajduk on loan for the rest of the season.— City Watch (@City_Watch) January 16, 2019
Midfielder Palaversa has 'bewitched' Guardiola, who sees Fernandinho in the player. [@DiMarzio] pic.twitter.com/pduANJyyTE
He has quickly emerged as one of Croatian football's top talents, and The Guardian have reported that having watched the midfielder for 'some time', City are now prepared to announce the deal in the next few days.
The deal would likely see him stay and continue his development with Split until at least the end of the season, and at 18, there is potential for him to re-join his current club on loan for the 2019/20 campaign to that end.
For those asking: I believe Ante Palaversa is really special, but he has only started showing it. Don't think he will be be ready to play in the Prem for at least another season and a half. Style comparison: maybe a bit more of a Toni Kroos than a Fernandinho; not a Modrić.— Aleksandar Holiga (@AlexHoliga) January 16, 2019
Such is Palaversa's talent that comparisons have been drawn with Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, with his intelligence and composure on the ball serving as key assets to his game - typical trademarks of a Pep Guardiola player.
Most interestingly from a City perspective is that the player featured as a 'number six' on a few occasions earlier in the season, and with his physical capabilities, it's hardly a stretch to imagine that he could be groomed as the long-term alternative to Fernandinho that they have lacked under Guardiola.
The experienced Brazilian's brief absence with injury in December led to a stumble in City's bid to reclaim their Premier League crown, and although they recovered quickly, it cost them some ground as they remain four points behind leaders Liverpool.