Manchester City are seeking two central defenders to resolve a weakness which was their undoing last season, with the prospect of future bids, for John Terry and £20m for Joleon Lescott, a real one.
City supporters' last-minute anxieties about Carlos Tevez joining are likely to be over soon – a deal is said to be close, though there is no announcement planned for tomorrow as has been suggested – but Mark Hughes' mind is currently occupied with defensive options. The Terry situation is the overriding priority, though City do not expect a resolution before they depart for their pre-season tour of South Africa on Wednesday. Once that situation is resolved one way or the other, City will turn their attentions to an individual who will partner him. A £20m offer for Lescott may be tabled regardless of the outcome of discussions with Terry. Bayern Munich's Brazilian captain Lucio (below) may also become part of the equation, though there is no active pursuit of him as yet.
The Brazilian is available for £7m – he has only a year left on his deal with Bayern – and has indicated he might be willing to move. "It is up to Bayern what they want to do. I am happy in Germany , but I would be interested in a new challenge in another country," the 31-year-old, who led Brazil to success in the recent Confederations Cup in South Africa, said recently. City could face competition from Internazionale if they fail in their bid to land Ricardo Carvalho from Chelsea.
Hughes has suggested that midfielder Michael Johnson has made progress this summer in his long battle with a pelvic injury. "It has been a real frustration for Michael and for us but he has worked hard through the summer and is in much better shape," Hughes said.
Valeri Bojinov also looked a re-galvanised individual compared to the player who laboured with injury last season as he scored in City's 1-1 friendly draw against 1860 Munich on Saturday.