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Man City firm up interest in Hoffenheim hotshot Roberto Firmino

Manchester City, 7/2 chances in Coral’s Premier League betting without Chelsea market, have firmed up their reported interest in Brazil and Hoffenheim attacker Roberto Firmino by beginning talks with the Bundesliga club over a £20m transfer, according to the tabloids.

Firmino, 23, has been tipped to be one of the stars of this summer’s Copa America, with the Samba Boys looking to regain their continental crown in Chile. He was named Bundesliga breakout talent of the season last term, following 22 goals and 16 assists.

Hoffenheim may now be tempted to sell prize asset Firmino, who is out of contract in 2017, as he made his senior Brazil debut this season, scoring twice in four caps to date and been touted as a potential forward foil for Samba Boys star striker Neymar.

While his current club haul of nine goals and 11 assists is not as impressive as his contribution during the last campaign, Firmino must move to a team competing in Europe’s elite club competition, the Champions League, in order to realise any ambition of being a Brazil regular.

City look almost certain to offer him that and they are an overwhelmingly odds-on price of 1/3 for a top four finish this term. All other top Premier League teams are tracking Firmino, however.

With Frank Lampard leaving the Etihad, and Yaya Toure plus Stevan Jovetic possibly following suit, there is room in the squad for Firmino to join, though City do have complying with Financial Fair Play rules as a major consideration underpinning their transfer policy.

Should he opt to move to Manuel Pellegrini’s men, Firmino would have compatriot couple Fernando Reges and Fernandinho for company.

Borussia Dortmund have previously expressed interest in taking him to the Westfalenstadion but, with Jurgen Klopp leaving the club to be replace by Thomas Tuchel, their plans are up in the air.

City are 16/1 shots to end the season outside the Champions League places; an eventuality that would almost certainly result in Pellegrini being sacked.