Manchester City have emerged as the favourites to land Valencia’s Nicolas Otamendi – ahead of rivals Manchester United.
According to Superdeporte, Manuel Pellegrini is leading his Premier League foe Louis van Gaal for the signature of the Argentina international, as the Citizens manager has made the central defender a priority signing following the end of the Raheem Sterling transfer saga [via BBC Sport].
According to the Valencia sports daily, interest from the Red Devils failed to materialise – despite persistent claims that van Gaal wanted both Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Otamendi to become his new partnership in the heart of his defence [via the Daily Star] – and their noisy neighbours could therefore now be unrivalled in their pursuit.
Nonetheless, Superdeporte also state that, as with United, City are not prepared to meet the £35m release-clause that Valencia are demanding must be paid in full [via talkSPORT], and negotiations are underway over the possibility of decreasing this price-tag.
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While the Red Devils are said to have exited the battle for Otamendi, van Gaal has refused to rule out his interest in Ramos, stating that there could be an ongoing transfer ‘process’ with the Spain international:
“I cannot talk about these rumours. I have said already it’s a process and maybe Mr Ramos is in the process – you never know,” as quoted by Sky News.
What’s more, van Gaal dropped a hint on his plans for his back-line in voicing his importance to always play with one left-footed central defender – a role that he told United’s official website could be suited to Daley Blind.
With Otamendi and Ramos both right-footed, perhaps the former Netherlands manager was never eyeing the signatures of both players.