Manchester City are weighing up a move for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, who is also being closely monitored by Barcelona and Real Madrid in his native Spain.
The Citizens sent scouts to watch the 23-year-old in action as his side secured a 3-2 victory at Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday evening. Ruiz performed well during I Partenopei's Champions League triumph in Austria, continuing his rich vein of form from the summer, when he was named player of the tournament at the European Under-21 Championships.
After joining Napoli from Real Betis in 2018, Ruiz has become a fixture in the Italians' starting XI, functioning mainly as a central midfielder, whilst also having the ability to play wide on the left.
The Guardian report that City will have to pay a mammoth fee to land their target, with Partenopei chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis saying: "I paid €30m for Fabián and he’s a fantastic player. If some of the European top clubs were to offer €180m, we can start talking about selling him."
Additionally, Pep Guardiola's side must fight off competition from the coach's former club Barcelona and their fierce rivals Real Madrid. Both teams have been closely watching Ruiz's progress in Serie A and are eager to bring him back to La Liga.
The Spaniards may be better placed than the English champions in the pursuit of the youngster. City's relationship with Napoli was damaged by their botched attempts to sign Jorginho in 2018, the playmaker ultimately agreeing a switch to Chelsea.
However, it's believed that Carlo Ancelotti's recruits will sanction Ruiz's sale if the Sky Blues match their valuation of the player, who has been compared to countryman David Silva.
'El Mago' will leave the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires in the summer. It appears Guardiola views his compatriot as a strong candidate to replace Silva in Manchester, with the pair having similar styles of play.