Tuesday 20 March 2018

Mangala to stay as City close in on Otamendi

Eliaquim Mangala is set to stay at Manchester City
Eliaquim Mangala is set to stay at Manchester City

John Percy

Manchester City are close to signing defender Nicolas Otamendi for £28.5million but have told Valencia they will not include Eliaquim Mangala as part of the deal.

Otamendi has flown to Manchester for talks and City expect to secure his signature before the trip to Everton on Sunday.

City want Otamendi, 27, to provide competition at centre-half, despite recording clean sheets in each of their first two Premier League games.

Valencia are understood to have asked for Mangala on loan but City want to keep the Frenchman. Mangala endured a difficult first season after a £31.5m move from Porto but he started the games against West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea.

However, the signing of Otamendi suggests that Manuel Pellegrini, the City manager, is still not fully convinced by his defence. Vincent Kompany, the captain, was dropped late last season while Martin Demechelis has also been inconsistent. Otamendi, who has won 25 Argentina caps, has been made available by Valencia and is poised for a medical in the next 24 hours.

City's pursuit of Kevin De Bruyne, however, appears to be at an end after a £45m offer was rejected by Wolfsburg, who want more than £50m. The Belgium international last night revealed that he would "definitely be playing for Wolfsburg this season."

City's start to the season, however, has increased optimism around Pellegrini's squad.

Kompany said: "It is not a bad way to start, but for all of a sudden people to talk about us as favourites - why does it matter? I am happy for people to say Arsenal, Liverpool, United and Chelsea are the favourites.

"If we keep playing like this, you won't see any sad faces at this club. But let's not get carried away. It's only two games."


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