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Man City’s Mangala talks, Markovic in Liverpool medical

Premier League champions Manchester City, 9/4 with Coral to retain their crown, have entered advanced talks with Porto over the proposed £32m transfer of France defender Eliaquim Mangala, 23.

A new centre half partner for Etihad captain Vincent Kompany is top priority for City coach Manuel Pellegrini, following the arrivals of holding midfielder Fernando, right back Bacary Sagna and goalie Willy Caballero.

Mangala, an unused substitute in Les Bleus’ run to the World Cup quarter-finals, has reportedly attracted interest from top English teams in previous transfer windows. He came close to making the switch to City in January, but negotiations are understood to have broken down.

Joining Porto from Belgian club Standard Liege in August 2011, Mangala is one of a crop of highly-rated French defenders that could come to the Premier League. Chelsea have already secured the services of Kurt Zouma from St-Eteinne, while Jose Mourinho is keen on bringing Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane to Stamford Bridge too.

If sold for the asking price, Porto are set to make around six times the fee they paid for Mangala. Pellegrini has preferred faithful retainer Martin Demichelis as Kompany’s centre back partner, with young Serbia international Matija Nastasic as backup. Joleon Lescott, meanwhile, has left the Etihad on a free transfer to West Bromwich Albion.

In other news, 10/1 Premier League title chances Liverpool are closing in on the £20m capture of Serbia wideman Lazar Markovic, 20, from another Portuguese giant, Benfica, with the player undergoing a medical on Merseyside.

Markovic’s move to Anfield is likely to mean forward flop Iago Aspas leaving, with Sevilla in talks to take him off the hands of Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool also remain in talks to capture young Belgium attacker Divock Origi from Lille.

The Reds have already made three summer signings, buying Germany Under-21 midfielder Emre Can and Southampton pair Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, while Luis Suarez is set to complete his £75m move to Real Madrid.

Both City (11/1 to win the European Cup) and Liverpool (20/1) will be competing in the Champions League this season, giving them substantial pulling power in the transfer window.