Manchester City’s concerns over central defender Matija Nastasic has led them to renew their interest in Real Madrid defender Pepe, with reports in Spain claiming the Premier League runners-up are trying to negotiate a deal with their Spanish counterparts.
New City boss Manuel Pellegrini was keen on strengthening his defence before Nastasic picked up the injury during the Barclays Asia Trophy – played on the atrocious Hong Kong Stadium pitch – and after his side conceded eight goals in three pre-season games, he will step up attempts to sign the Portuguese international.
Pellegrini has been a long-time fan of Pepe’s, but Real rejected a £15m offer last month as they look to hold onto the 30-year-old.
But Spanish newspaper Marca has said that City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain is in Spain to try and negotiate a transfer, while Cadena Cope broke the news along with the claims that Atletico Madrid’s Martin Demichelis is also on their radar.
It is suggested they are willing to go above £20m in their attempts to sign Pepe, who has fallen behind Sergio Ramos and Raphael Verane in the centre-back pecking order. However, Varane’s recovery from a knee operation during the summer has taken a little longer than expected, and new boss Carlo Ancelotti may wish to hold on to Pepe, in which case City will accept defeat and look elsewhere.
Having already signed £90m worth of new players, City have failed to add a defender to their squad, with the acquisitions of Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Stefan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo providing the club with a formidable attack for the upcoming season.
They have also been linked with Schalke defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos, but after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Premier League rivals Arsenal in Helsinki, Pellegini is keen to improve his leaking defence.
“We’ll see next week if I can bring in the player I need,” Pellegrini said in the wake of the defeat to the Gunners. “We have conceded too many goals and we will have to find ways to fix that.”
Both Scott Sinclair and Alex Nimely are expected to leave the club this week having failed to make an impact on Moss side. Sinclair joined the Citizens last summer, but saw his opportunities severely limited and the English winger has been told by Pellegrini he is no longer needed at the club.
West Brom have been linked with the 24-year-old along with Everton and Newcastle, but bookies slashed the odds on a move to Liverpool to link-up with his former boss Brendan Rodgers after Stewart Downing joined West Ham yesterday for around £6m.
Nimely has risen through the ranks since joining the club in 2008, but he has been training with Championship side Doncaster Rovers ahead of a move after spending time on loan at Middlesbrough, Coventry and Crystal Palace.