Savio: Girona's flying winger closes on dream move to Manchester City

Brazilian reported to be joining Premier League club in summer

Girona's Savio on the attack against Real Sociedad in their La Liga match on February 4, 2024. EPA
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Manchester City are close to completing a deal to sign flying winger Savio who is currently playing a starring role on loan at La Liga surprise packages Girona.

The Brazilian joined Girona last summer helping the team surge up the table, threatening to beat Spanish behemoths Real Madrid and Barcelona to the league title.

They currently sit second in the table, two points behind leaders Real Madrid and six ahead of Barcelona in third. Savio has made 23 appearances this season scoring five goals and supplying five assists.

The 19-year-old is currently on loan at Girona from French side Troyes, although he has yet to play a game for the Ligue 2 team.

Both clubs are part-owned by City Football Group (CFG), the holding company that owns Manchester City and numerous other clubs around the world.

And according to football transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, he is set to join his parent club this summer after helping Girona's historic bid to beat Real and Barcelona to the La Liga title.

Such has been his impact, Barca have also been linked with a move for the player. “To be told that [Barcelona chief] Deco likes one of your players is nice and fills you with pride," said Girona sporting director Quique Carcel in November.

“It already happened to us last season with Oriol Romeu [who joined Barcelona], but our goal is to retain these players because changing the entire squad is difficult.”

But Savio has already made clear his ambition to join Pep Guardiola's side at some point. “I have the goal of playing for City, yes,” he told Premier League Brasil.

“I think that when I was hired my goal was always to get to City and I'm working towards that. But I have to keep my focus on Girona and do things well to get there.

“If one day I arrive at City, you can be sure that I did things well at Girona, as I am doing. I want to continue working here so that one day I can reach City, which is my reference point.”

Finding his way into City's star-studded starting XI, though will be a huge challenge as Guardiola already has the likes of Jermey Doku, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden who can play in Savio's preferred left-wing position.

But the teenager has also played down the right and at No 10 on occasions and his versatility will appeal to Guardiola.

Savio had already caught the eye of Europe's big clubs as a teenager when he broke into the first-team of Brazilian outfit Club Atletico Mineiro, making his professional debut aged just 16.

In an interview with Sport, Savio talked about his humble beginnings. “At home we have a cow farm and I always lived there. We make milk and also put on rodeo shows. It’s very nice,” he said.

“I had always lived on the farm, enjoying a very quiet life, then suddenly I moved to Atletico Mineiro. When I was 10 years old they came looking for me and told me they wanted me. First I went on my own and then my mother came and stayed with me until I was 18.”

He went on to make 29 appearances for Atletico before they reached an agreement with CFC for a deal worth €6.5 million, with another €6 million in variables in June 2022.

Less than a month later he joined Dutch side PSV Eindhoven on a season-long loan where he made eight first-team appearances but was mostly playing for the reserves.

A year later, Savio was heading to Spain and Girona, managed by Michel who has helped turn the team into a La Liga force this campaign.

“We know that given his age he can have ups and downs, but he has enormous talent. We’re going to enjoy him,” Michel said after their September win at Sevilla.

Michel has also compared Savio to another Brazilian who has long-since establish himself in La Liga, and world football.

“I know they are big words, but since the emergence of Vinicius I don’t think I have seen a one-on-one talent as destabilising as him,” the former Rayo Vallecano and Huesco coach told Cadena SER.

In an interview with Marca, Junior Chavare – the scout credited with spotting Savio's talent in Brazil – described seeing the player in action and quickly realising they had found “a hidden gem”.

“He became a starter in his youth teams and consistently stood out,” said Chavare, a former sporting director at Brazilian clubs Gremio and Sao Paulo.

“He possesses a professional demeanour, an excellent mindset, and all the qualities necessary to thrive internationally, play for the world's most prominent clubs, and become a star.”

Updated: February 06, 2024, 11:05 AM