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French minnows seeking Man City "feeder" deal

Manchester City are considering linking up with French minnows AC Arles-Avignon, according to the Ligue 2 club's president.

Jean-Marc Conrad claims he has met several times with representatives from the Premier League club with a view to agreeing a partnership and they are set for more talks on Thursday. However, he insists they are far from agreeing a deal at the moment.

"At present we have met several times but nothing has yet been settled,'' Conrad told French newspaper Le Dauphine Libere.

"We have agreed that Manchester City representatives will come visit our facilities, this will happen on Thursday. But it is still too early to talk about a partnership.''

ACA were promoted from the third division last season and are currently eighth in Ligue 2. If a deal were to be agreed it could see City farm out their young players to the French club, while friendlies between the two would also be organised.

A number of Premier League teams have similar deals in place with "feeder" clubs abroad, including Manchester United who are partnered with Royal Antwerp of the Belgium Second Division. United use the club as a platform to blood their youngsters, giving them a taste of competitive football different to playing in the reserves.

Current first-team squad members John O'Shea, Jonathan Evans and Darron Gibson, as well as United academy graduates such as Phillip Bardsley, Fraizer Campbell and Ryan Shawcross all turned out for the Belgian side as part of their football education.

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