Monaco Aim To Beat Premier League Pair To Big-Money Signing Of Porto Ace

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Ligue 1 giants to offer £35m for Chelsea and Manchester City target.

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Big-spending Ligue 1 giants Monaco could be set to make another splash in the transfer market this January as they line up a £35m bid to Porto for promising young centre-back Eliaquim Mangala, CaughtOffside understands.

The 22-year-old is rated as one of the best young defenders in the world at the moment, and has recently attracted interest from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City in the Premier League, as well as La Liga champions Barcelona.

Porto have been determined to keep hold of their star player, though Mangala’s impressive form looks to continue to attract several big-name sides to his potential availability.

The French international supposedly has a minimum release clause fee of around £40m, and Monaco may be prepared to go as high as that to land this solid central defender.

Claudio Ranieri has enjoyed access to huge funds at Monaco with the backing of wealthy Russian owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, and was able to bring in some star players during the summer, including Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho, James Rodriguez and Geoffrey Kondogbia.

However, his side are still somewhat short at the back, with veteran Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho representing the only major name brought in in that department in the summer transfer window.

Mangala will now be Monaco’s top priority for January, and they may well be in the best position to tempt Porto into selling, even though the Portuguese champions may be reluctant to lose more of their top talent, having already lost Moutinho and Rodriguez to the newly-promoted Ligue 1 side in the summer.

Known for finding players with great potential on the cheap, Porto have often had their stars poached by clubs with more money, and are unlikely to be able to keep hold of Mangala for much longer, while Colombian striker Jackson Martinez also continues to attract interest from the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal.

Mangala has previously stated he is happy at Porto, though the money on offer at Monaco may be too hard to turn down, and his club will have no choice in the matter if the mega-rich club meet the youngster’s buy-out clause.

With Chelsea and Manchester City both keen to strengthen their defences this winter, they may now have to look elsewhere for additions at the back, with Saint-Etienne youngster Kurt Zouma another great French prospect who has been making the headlines recently due to interest in him from Europe’s giants.

Monaco, meanwhile, could be set for a full-on assault for the title this season if Mangala can come in and provide the extra quality in defence that they need.

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