Manchester City face a losing battle in the race to land Santos star Neymar.

The People says the Samba superstar was Manchester City's dream target - and the Italian has been working behind the scenes to pull off a coup.

But any chance of Neymar coming to City in January - as a replacement for Carlos Tevez - is looking slim.

Agents insist the 18-year-old is "all but signed" by Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid.

Santos have been holding out for a £40million fee for Neymar, also wanted by Chelsea and Inter Milan until they gave up the chase.

Neymar has had the final say and he thinks the chance to join Real's all-star attack - and go straight into their Champions League campaign - is simply too good to refuse.