Manchester City are close to signing the Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi for around €30m with the Argentinian potentially joining by the end of the week.
The 27-year-old was left out of the Valencia squad to face Monaco in the Champions League qualifier on Wednesday and the two sides now are close to agreement on a fee. It would represent City’s fourth major signing of the window, after Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Patrick Roberts for a total of £65m. The expectation is still that Kevin De Bruyne will also join for more than £40m.
There was no suggestion on Tuesday night that the deal for Otamendi has been finalised but the move by Valencia coach Nuno Espirito Santo to withdraw him from the qualifying game demonstrated that the club recognise he will be leaving soon. If he were to play, and Valencia qualified for the group stages of the competition, then he would be ineligible to play for City in the competition.
Santo said: "Once everything is resolved, we will make decisions and the club will announce everything. For a few days now we have prepared for this game without the option of using Otamendi.”
The deal is expected to be a straight fee payment from City to Valencia even though the Premier League club are still owed money on the agreement that took Alvaro Negredo to Valencia last summer. The Spanish club are obliged to pay £24m to make the deal permanent, which they have not yet done, but that is being treated as a separate case by the two clubs.
Neither is there any prospect of defender Eliaquim Mangala going on loan to Valencia, as part of the deal. Instead it looks as if City will seek to loan out Jason Denayer, the 20-year-old Belgian defender who was signed two years ago and spent last season on loan at Celtic. That would leave City with a quartet of experienced central defenders comprising Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis and Mangala.
Otamendi has been in Manchester during this week but as of early evening on Tuesday was yet to have had a medical for the club. He was not in the Argentina squad for the World Cup finals last year but he played at the Copa America in Chile this summer.
Chelsea’s attempt to sign John Stones from Everton have not moved further on with the rejection of a third £30m bid from the defending champions for a player they have chased for most of the summer. Everton have been clear so far that there is no prospect of them selling Stones in this window although that promise depends on just how far Chelsea are prepared to go to sign the defender.
It would now appear that it will take a fee of closer to £40m to sign the 21-year-old and given the small increases that Chelsea have made from £20m to £26m previously it seems that the club are not entirely convinced that they should be paying that level of fee for the player. Everton find themselves in the driving seat on this deal and a £40m fee would make it an easier case to present to their own supporters, were Stones to leave.
The new Chelsea left-back Baba Rahman, 21, signed from Augsburg, had his first training session at the club’s Cobham base on Tuesday. He is ready to go into the squad for Sunday’s game against West Bromwich Albion.
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