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Manchester United firmly remain in transfer battle for £35m Manchester City target

Manchester United are set to step up their pursuit of Valencia defender and Manchester City target Nicolas Otamendi.

Contrary to recent reports from Valencia newspaper Superdeporte – who claimed that the Red Devils were no longer interested in the Argentina international – ESPN FC state that United are in fact prepared to increase their efforts to sign the unsettled defender.

According to ESPN, Louis van Gaal has now made Otamendi a priority signing – perhaps as a consequence of Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez repeatedly insisting that Sergio Ramos will not be swapping the Santiago Bernabeu for Old Trafford this summer [via the Mirror].

The 27-year-old is said to be desperate to leave the Mestalla Stadium, but his exit is yet to be determined, as Superdeporte report that no offer has been received for the centre-back.

With no bid having been tabled, the Spanish newspaper state that the former FC Porto star may be forced to travel with his Valencia team-mates on Monday, as they begin their pre-season tour of Germany.

As the Express have previously said, Otamendi’s £35m release-clause could be proving to be a significant stumbling block in negotiations – and is likely to be key in his future not having been resolved.

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The Argentine has also attracted the interest of United’s noisy neighbours Manchester City.

According to the Mirror, Otamendi may be on the transfer wish list of Manuel Pellegrini, with the Chilean manager in search of competition for Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala.

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