Are Manchester City winning the race for Adam Maher?

Recent reports suggest that Dutch starlet Adam Maher could be on his way to the Etihad.

Some names are constants in the rumour mill, not linked with one club but with many. Some of those players are household names, while others are unfamiliar to fans outside their native country.

In the case of Adam Maher, he was once the latter but is fast-becoming the former. At just 19, the AZ Alkmaar midfielder has already been linked with Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City in this country alone.

But his isn’t a name leaked by wily agents to generate interest. The interest in Maher has been sparked by outstanding performances and unquestionable talent.

And now reports suggest that City have edged above other interested parties in the race for his signature.

When Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano joined City as director of football and chief executive respectively, they did so with the remit of recruiting the best young players in the world.

It is a long-term project but one that could be fast-tracked in the case of Maher, who already has two full seasons in the Eredivisie under his belt. This campaign alone he has made 26 starts and scored six goals.

Proving emphatically that if you are good old you are old enough, Maher has made 61 senior appearances for his club and has four caps for his country.

In short, he is a superstar in the making.

So when he appeared to rule out a move to Arsenal last month, followed by further statements expressing his desire to remain in Holland, his admirers looked set to be disappointed.

Until a statement from AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek said otherwise:

The expectation,” he said, “is that Maher will leave the club.”

It is City’s long-term project to sign and produce the cream of young football talent. Securing Maher would be another step in the right direction, someone who will no doubt follow Matija Nastasic almost instantly into the first team.

With Maher’s contract running until 2015, a big offer this summer could tempt his club into doing business.

But Maher is proving to be a man who knows his own mind. And you sense he will not be easily swayed into a move.

That is where Begiristain and Soriano will have to earn their money: in persuading the best young players in the world that City should be their footballing canvas for the foreseeable future.

Will City secure the signing of Maher?  And would he be the ideal replacement for Samir Nasri?

image: © alfonso jimenez

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