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Eto'o takes a step closer to Manchester City

Barcelona have made a £37million bid for Spain striker David Villa as they prepare for life without Manchester City target Samuel Eto’o.

Barca’s summer spending budget is only around £25m, meaning they would need to sell Eto’o to fund a move for Villa on top of their other targets. Nou Camp president Joan Laporta would love to strike a new deal with his Cameroon striker, who is out of contract next summer.

But talks have hit a brick wall, forcing the European champions to try to cash in now rather than let him leave on a free next summer. Reports in Spain say Inter Milan and Manchester United are keen on the 28-year-old, but concede City are the only club prepared to pay £30m and meet his huge pay demands.

The British tabloid, Daily Mail reported last week that Eto’o would pick up a staggering £320,000 a week at Manchester City, though he has yet to decide on whether to turn his back on Champions League football and head for the Barclays Premier League.

Real Madrid have apparently given up on signing Villa after Valencia insisted their 27-year-old Spain star was not for sale, but that has not deterred Barcelona. They maintain an interest in Inter Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and former Manchester United forward Carlos Tevez, but have made Villa their No 1 target.