Man City and Spurs target Spanish midfield starlet

Manchester City and Tottenham have reportedly set their sights on Malaga's Spain Under 21 international midfielder Sergi Darder.

Darder, 19, recently signed a new deal at La Rosaleda to stay in Andalusia until 2017, but his performances for Malaga this season have attracted the interest of Spurs and former Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, whilst he also earned a place in Julen Lopetegui's Under 21 squad for the first time last week.

Despite leaving Espanyol in 2012, Darder was signed by Pellegrini but was immediately sent to play in the Malaga 'B' team, only for new manager Bernd Schuster to be suitably impressed to promote him into the first team. Darder hasn't looked back since, establishing himself as a key player already, and whilst Spanish press have been reporting the interest from England, Darder is - so far - not interested.

"I am only focused on my work in Malaga," he said. "The future? I am calm and my desire is to progress in world football." Darder, though, is delighted to have signed a four-year deal with the club.

Having played last season in the B team, becoming such an integral part of Schuster's line up at this early stage is clearly a huge surprise, and Darder is determined to repay the faith shown in him.

"When I first started pre-season training, I never knew I'd have such an amazing opportunity. This is what I've been working for all this time. Malaga really has given me everything. I'm so thankful to the club for where I am today, and I'd like to remain here as long as I can. I'll always be grateful to Malaga."

Whilst it has been speculated that an £11m bid will be enough to prise Darder away from Malaga, it seems the youngster is committed to developing at Malaga for the near future. However, Malaga's financial problems have been well documented, which resulted in them losing Pellegrini, Martin Demichelis, Jeremy Toulalan and local hero Isco over the summer in order to balance the books, and could be forced to sell again if a good enough offer comes in – which is a danger, with Pellegrini having the inside track on the 19 year old.

Neither City or Spurs are particularly short in midfield, but with ambitions of lengthy success in the top four, it seems both Pellegrini and Andre Villas-Boas are looking to the future to steal a march on their rivals.

image: © dyork

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