Juventus have admitted that they can’t match the asking price for in-demand striker Stevan Jovetic, leaving the path clear for one the Manchester clubs to snap up the Fiorentina forward.
As reported by The Independent yesterday, both United and City could move for Jovetic but they would have to meet his £27 million buy-out clause.
The Serie A champions had also been in the running for the Montenegro international, but coach Antonio Conte last night admitted that they could not afford the fee that would allow them to discuss terms with Jovetic.
“Jovetic has a high price tag, but it's justified,” said Conte. “He's a top player and he could be worth even more than 30 million euros in the future.
“He's going to go to a club who have this kind of money, and that's not in Italy. Other clubs in Europe are better off than us.”
It leaves City in pole position for Jovetic, but they are believed to be weighing up the Financial Fair Play implications of the deal after they met with his representatives on Wednesday.
Should a deal go through to take Jovetic to the Etihad, it will likely scupper any chance of signing either Alvaro Negredo and Pepe – two players that new manager Manuel Pellegrini has admitted his interest in.
United could still enter the race for Jovetic, with boss David Moyes eager to bring a new striker to the club after they missed out on Robert Lewandowski, who seems certain to be moving to Bayern Munich next season.
Moyes will be concernec with the injury suffered to Wayne Rooney yesterday that forced him to fly home within 16 hours of arriving in Bangkok ahead of the club’s pre-season tour of Asia.
Rooney’s future has been thrown into question as he has been constantly linked with a move away from Old Trafford, although Moyes insists the England striker will not be leaving the club.
However, a hamstring injury suffered in training is thought to have him sidelined for at least a month, and Moyes may act swiftly to ensure his attack is ready for the start of pre-season regardless of the injury to Rooney by bringing in Jovetic.
The former Partizan Belgrade striker has scored 40 goals in 134 appearances for the Italian club, but it seems he is ready for a new challenge as he seeks a move away from the club.