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Why Man City are willing to outbid PSG, Chelsea for Estudiantes superkid Joaquin Correa

With a Manchester City offer now lodged, Joaquin Correa is packing his bags for Europe.

However, Manchester as the Estudiantes midfielder's next destination is no guarantee. Estudiantes, which is in the middle of a presidency power battle, is banking on the City offer flushing out other suitors with days just to run before the January transfer window opens.

It's all change for former president Enrique Lombardi, who only six months ago convinced Correa to stay after AS Monaco had tabled an €9 million bid. Though only 19 at the time, big-spending ASM knew enough about the midfielder to line him up as a replacement for the Real Madrid-bound James Rodriguez.

But Lombardi, who lost control of the club to Juan Sebastian Veron, stood firm and his persuasive powers were able to convince Correa to do the same.

"The offer was very tempting," recalled Lombardi, "but we asked Correa to stay."

While his contribution last season was significant, this campaign, under Veron, Correa has taken his game to a new level and become Estudiantes' prime playmaker.

Benfica, where a player investment firm were eager to place Correa this season, and PSG have both been in new contact with Veron about their plans for the midfielder. But it is City which is now in the boxseat, with their offer of €10 million meeting the buyout clause in Correa's current deal.

Veron knows the club needs a big sale next month to balance the books and is in deep discussion with coach Mauricio Pellegrino, the former Liverpool defender, whether to sacrifice Correa or teammate Guido Carrillo.

And he has been playing his part, drumming up business for Correa in the Italian media only last week.

"The boy is for sale if the offer is good," Veron was happy to tell "I spoke with (Inter coach) Roberto Mancini, he asked after the boy.

"He wanted to know if I thought he could play in Italy, but we did not go beyond that.

"The truth is that they are following him but have not made an offer. However, I expect in the coming weeks that perhaps something will happen."

Correa's future has been headline news for several weeks now, with fans becoming increasingly anxious over his potential departure.

"I do not know what will happen with my future," he confessed after a starring performance against Tigre last week.

"But the love and support of the fans is very important. I appreciate it very much."

However, any doubts about Correa's intentions were extinguished just days ago after he visited Italy to secure his European passport. The No10 was accompanied by several of his advisors - this was no holiday jaunt.

Those close to his camp say their schedule for the next two weeks is dominated by visits to Portugal, France, Spain, England and Italy to sound out clubs about Correa's availability.

But his visit to Italy could be a clue - with City's plan for the youngster in January being a Sampdoria loan for the remainder of the campaign before taking him on formally for the new preseason.

One source inside the Correa camp said: "Obviously, he is anxious to know when a decision affecting his future will be taken. However, on the field, we have not found him nervous. We've even seen him more motivated than ever in meeting the objectives of the club."

The same source revealed that "PSG, Monaco, Milan, Inter and Chelsea have shown interest" as has "the two Manchester clubs". But money talks and City's offer last week has rattled rivals.

"Clubs are interested, but they feel Estudiantes' €10 million valuation is too much."

That is, until now.

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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie


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