Cristiano Giaretta, the man who brought Bruno Fernandes to Italy for €20,000, believes the Sporting Lisbon midfielder is “ready” for his €50m move to Manchester City.
It is widely reported today that City are set to splash out around €50m for the 24-year-old, ahead of interest from cross-town rivals Manchester United, who had identified the youngster as a replacement for Ander Herrera.
Former Lecco defender Giaretta scouted the Portuguese player when he was working as sporting director at Novara, and brought him to Italy from Boavista in 2012.
“I went to see him when he was at Boavista,” the current CSKA Sofia sporting director told Tuttomercatoweb.com.
“They were playing in the third division because they had gone bankrupt and, in their academy, there was this skinny little kid who stood out from the rest due to his technical ability.
“He was like a twig, looked like he would snap in two and it seemed impossible that he would be able to play football at the top level.
“There was no risk for us to sign him, we paid €20,000 for him and the first day he arrived at Novarello he looked just like a little kid with oversized clothes.
“He turned up with his agent and his parents, and he seemed lost, but he settled in and after just two months he could speak Italian.
“He used to put up post-it notes on everything in his room and that helped him learn the language. He stayed with the Primavera youth team for a year and a half before he was promoted to the first team between the ages of 17-18.”
The Portugal international spent five years in total in Italy with Novara, Udinese and Sampdoria before returning to his homeland, this season he has scored 31 times in 50 appearances between cup and league competition.
“In 2013 when I joined Udinese as sporting director, I found myself working with the boy again, they had paid €4m for him, but they changed Coach too many times during that period.
“They then sold him on to Sampdoria for €10m who then, in turn, sold him to Sporting Lisbon for €15m. Last year he had offers from the Premier League, but he refused, wishing to stay in Lisbon for another season.
“I am still in contact with him, we message each other, I congratulated him on the interest of Man City. It is time he goes, as he is ready.”