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Why Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea are struggling to convince Bruma to leave Sporting

Roberto Mancini knows the glamour of the Premier League won't be enough to tempt Armindo Bangna, 'Bruma', away from Sporting Lisbon.

For the past two years, the Manchester City manager has made it a personal quest to sign the teenage wonderkid.

But like Chelsea and Manchester United before them, City have been frustrated in their attempts to prise Bruma away. Even the presence of older brother, Mesca, at Fulham hasn't shaken Bruma's focus.

"I'm ready to play in the first team and will wait for an opportunity," said Bruma last week. "I've just turned 18 and feel ready to play for the Sporting first team.

"I don't think about moving abroad. My dream is to play for Sporting."

City had a £2 million offer for Bruma, rising to £4 million, turned down almost two years ago and have left it on the table. But Sporting know what they have and refuse to do business.

"Manchester United and Chelsea have pressed for me, but my desire is to continue here," revealed the teen.

Many inside Sporting regard Bruma as the most talented they've seen come through since Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I don't like to define myself, but I will say that I am quick, comfortable taking on players and I find it easy to shoot," he says.

He has now been with the club for five years, but was almost lost to football when a junior at great rivals Benfica.

By his own admission, Bruma wasn't a big football fan: "I just liked to watch television. I liked most just being with my mum and not go onto the street to play."

But Mesca's progress at Sporting convinced his kid brother to give the game another go.

"Watching him made me change my mind. He was playing and doing well and this convinced me to try again. Soon I had a real taste for football."

Enrolled at the Sporting academy, Bruma soon was turning heads and at 16 was identified by City as one of the players they wanted as part of a new collaboration between the two clubs. But Sporting, not for the first time, refused City's demand. Bruma knows he could earn a fat contract at City and immediately set himself up for life. But he's focused on his football and the career path mapped out for him by his agent and advisor, Catio Balde. It was at Balde's football academy in Guinea where Bruma was first spotted and he is aware of the pitfalls that lie ahead of any young player wanting to make it in England.

"He's peaceful, quiet and knows what happened to the boys his age who wanted to go to England," explained one Sporting source.

Bruma recalls: "To be honest, it wasn't easy for me to adapt to Sporting. Four years ago, when I arrived at the Club, I was used to a totally different reality.

"However, as time passed, I adapted to my new surroundings and I am now perfectly integrated into the structure of the Club. Coming from Guinea to Sporting was the start of a completely new phase in my life.

"Sporting is great when it comes to training players and they give us everything that we need at the Academy to do a good job. We are also treated very well and with respect."

Bruma knows all about the comparisons with Ronaldo - indeed, his advisors have used the Real star as a role-model for the youngster to follow. He even admits to copying some of Ronaldo's tricks.

"Catio Baldé and the people in charge helped me lot when it came to overcoming certain problems that I had and it is thanks to them that I am already representing Sporting's junior team. They gave me the example of Cristiano Ronaldo and what he did when he was in my position. I started to copy the things that he did and I am really happy with the results so far."

And so are Sporting, where they're determined to see Bruma pull on a first team shirt before he's tempted away.

Chris Beattie
About the author

Chris Beattie

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