Football

Man City set to pay world-record fee for goalkeeper Ederson

Man City set to pay world-record fee for a goalkeeper for Benfica's Ederson

Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson has admitted that he has "probably" played his last match for Benfica amid reports linking him with a move to Manchester City.

The 23-year-old, who won a Portuguese league and cup double this season, is reportedly in talks to join former Monaco winger Bernardo Silva in completing a summer switch to City, who are rebuilding after finishing third in the Premier League.

It is understood that Ederson was supposed to arrive in Manchester yesterday for further talks and will have a medical today ahead of a move to City for a potential world-record fee of £34.8 million (S$61.5m).

The current world-record fee for a goalkeeper is the £32.6m paid by Juventus to Parma for Gianluigi Buffon in 2001.

When asked about City's interest - cited in the Manchester Evening News and by national newspapers - following Benfica's 2-1 cup final victory over Vitoria de Guimaraes on Sunday, the 1.88m-tall goalkeeper told Portuguese newspaper Record: "I still do not know, but this was probably my last match with Benfica."

Pep Guardiola is looking for alternative options between the sticks after deciding to let Argentinian Willy Caballero leave at the end of his contract.

Claudio Bravo has endured a shaky first season in England following his move from Barcelona while Joe Hart's future is uncertain as he completes a loan spell at Torino.

Nobody knows better than Hart how important a goalkeeper's use of the ball at his feet is to Guardiola and Ederson appears to have every box ticked on that aspect.

"City or Munich? They are two great teams, two teams that will fight for titles next season. But I prefer England and City."Ederson

He has often been spotted charging from his box, occasionally even beyond the last defender, to snuff out attacks and get his side going again.

He has a reputation for being both a considered passer of the ball and, when the time comes, a huge kicker.

He directly assisted goals by picking out strikers from his goal-kicks and once scored from his own box as a youth player, giving his next club a handsome range of deliveries from the back.

The highly rated custodian originally joined Benfica as a 16-year-old, but he was released after two years and spent time with Portuguese lower-league side Ribeirao and then Rio Ave, before Benfica signed him again in the summer of 2015.

His biggest challenge at Benfica was to oust compatriot and veteran goalkeeper Julio Cesar between the posts.

The former Inter Milan stalwart had been a revelation in 2015, earning a contract extension through to 2018 but, when Ederson's chance came, he took it with aplomb and the 37-year-old Cesar has performed understudy duties to the younger man ever since.

Ederson has been on City's radar for a while.

He was taking part in a question-and-answer session on Facebook last June when he was asked about reported interest from Guardiola's past and present employers - Bayern Munich and Man City.

Happily, given the latest speculation, he offered a tentative preference for the Etihad Stadium though, at the time at least, he was not contemplating any kind of transfer.

He said: "City or Munich? They are two great teams, two teams that will fight for titles next season.

"But I prefer England and City. But I will not leave (Benfica), do not want to and do not intend to. Although the decision is not always 100 per cent made by the player. Unfortunately."

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is a big admirer of Ederson.

"The talent is all there. I have no doubt that with the qualities Ederson has, he can overcome anything," said the former Holland international. - WIRE SERVICES

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