Manchester City have stepped up their interest in Barcelona winger Pedro Getty

Manchester City have entered the race to sign Barcelona winger Pedro Rodriguez, as manager Manuel Pellegrini looks for an alternative to the departing Edin Dzeko, according to the Mundo Deportivo.

Txiki Begiristain, the director of football at City, has reportedly opened talks with Barcelona and the player over a prospective deal to take him to the Etihad, with Manchester United firm favourites for his signature.

The report states that the Chilean is finding that Dzeko's departure has crippled his attack. He would be open to the prospect of signing Pedro, but would prefer a more physical presence in the same ilk as Dzeko, to replace the Bosnian.

The news will come as a major blow for United, who, according to the Mirror, were willing to activate his £22m ($34m) release clause as soon as possible.

The move has stuttered owing to Neymar contracting mumps in pre-season, as reported by Goal, and the management wanting to keep Pedro till at least their Super Cup fixture against Sevilla this week, before returning to the contract table.

The winger can also be kept in the squad for Barcelona's game against Athletic Bilbao in the Supercopa de Espana, which will further delay the process. The report states that Pedro wants to weigh his options before committing to a move abroad and City's introduction into the mix is likely to delay matters for the Catalan club, which should act in their favour.

United have also been linked with a move for Lucas Biglia from Lazio and the Sun reports that Louis van Gaal is looking to get the deal over the line by the end of this week. With the Premier League having already started, the Dutchman is desperate to get the deal done as soon as possible, but further delays can force him to look at other options.

The Red Devils won their first game in the league 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford, while the Citizens take on West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns later today (10 August).