Crafton says City agreed to a deal in principle this summer but decided that the Argentinian should remain in his homeland for one more season. Instead, he will join the club next summer. It's a move very much in line with City's strategy of signing the best young talent from around the globe.
Next season, City will open the Etihad Campus—a new training and youth development complex that will be the envy of the world. It's a £100 million, 80-acre site that will be situated adjacent to the Etihad Stadium, and it's hoped the campus will be home to the finest young players in the world. Financial self-sufficiency is now at the forefront of owner Sheikh Mansour's mind.
If a deal for Zuculini is finalised, it's likely it won't be the only deal City do for a highly rated young player. Here are five things you may not know about Zuculini.
Zuculini holds an Italian passport and will be able to go straight into City's starting lineup when he moves to Manchester in the summer.
How likely it is that he will be put into the first team remains unclear, and with Yaya Toure and Fernandinho forming a formidable partnership in central midfield, it won't be easy for him, but he's a player who doesn't come with red-tape complications that mean he has to be loaned out before becoming eligible.
Javi Garcia is a player who has failed to settle, and Jack Rodwell continues to have injury concerns, so Zuculini could find himself getting games as cover for Toure and Fernandinho very early in his City career.
At £1.5 million, Zuculini is thought to be somewhat of a coup for City. He's widely regarded as one of the finest young prospects in South America, and with his Racing Club contract coming to end, City pounced and secured a good price.
The low price tag may be a blessing for the 20-year-old. Some of City's signings in recent seasons have certainly suffered from inflated transfer fees weighing them down. Javi Garcia and Aleksandar Kolarov spring instantly to mind, and even Fernandinho, who has been exceptional this season for City, is consistently discussed in the context of his £30 million transfer fee (via the Mirror).
Zuculini won't have that burden and can, instead, concentrate fully on learning from Toure and Fernandinho, before eventually challenging them for a place in the City XI.
In 2010, Zuculini made his debut for Racing Club against Club de Gimnasia aged just 16.
It's incredibly rare a player breaks into a first team at such a young age—particularly at a top-flight club. He made 19 appearances during his first two seasons in the Racing Club first team but has since become a regular. In 2011-12, he made 17 starts (six as a substitute) before making 28 starts (four as a substitute) in 2012-13. This season, he has started 13 games already.
It seems sensible for him to remain at his current club for now in order to continue his development and, hopefully, force his way into Argentina's World Cup squad before moving to City for a new challenge in the summer.
Despite being a defensive midfield player, Zuculini seems to have an eye for scoring goals, like this one he bagged against Tigre last year. It's a goal that demonstrates great quality with a wonderful flick to beat the defender followed by a cheeky lob over the goalkeeper.
He's managed four in 13 games this season and has 12 in his 56 career matches for Racing Club (via ESPN) With Manuel Pellegrini's attacking philosophy already taking shape, Zuculini's ability to score goals would appear tailor-made for his side.
Zuculini’s older brother, Franco, is also a professional footballer, currently playing for Zaragoza in Spain (via Transfer Market). Like Bruno, Franco came through the ranks at Racing Club, making 38 appearances for them before being snapped up by 1899 Hoffenheim.
He only made seven appearances for the German side and was loaned out to Genoa where he made four starts, before returning to Racing Club on loan where he played a further 15 times for his boyhood club. He spent the 2011-12 season on loan at Zaragoza before signing permanently for them the following summer on a three-year deal.
He has also played for Argentina at under-17 and under-20 level and has one full cap.
Bruno is expected to follow in his brothers footsteps and may even make the Argentina squad for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.