City’s Manuel Pellegrini planning Pep-talks
Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini is set to return to Real Madrid with an offer for Portuguese centre back Pepe.
The 31-year-old is seen as the perfect partner for captain Vincent Kompany, and City are reportedly preparing a bid in the region of £25m.
In recent days, the Premier League champions have also been linked with a move for Brazilian defender Marquinhos of PSG, however interest appears to be cooling, as Pellegrini pursues experience.
City have had problems at the heart of their defence this season, with Martin Demichellis deemed too slow, and Matija Nastasic although talented, too inexperienced.
Pellegrini has identified Pepe, after number one target Eliaquim Mangala of Porto reportedly turned his back on a £35m move. Mangala, currently at the World Cup with France is being courted by a number of top clubs around Europe, and knows he can effectively take his pick.
Real Madrid’s first choice centre back pairing consists of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, and Pepe will have to decide whether he stays in Spain warming the bench or reunites himself with Pellegrini at City. The Chilean knows Pepe’s strengths having managed the player while in charge of Los Blancos, which could work in City’s favour.
Undoubtedly, City’s next aim is conquering Europe. They are currently fourth favourites at 11/1 to win the Champions League next season, behind Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona; odds which certainly reflect how far they have come in a short space of time, with significant investment.
Other targets on Pellegrini’s list are thought to include Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels, 25, and Everton’s John Stones, 20. It is unlikely however, that the former club will allow another star to leave, after losing both Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski in the last two seasons to bitter rivals Bayern Munich. Stones, though, is expected to stay at Everton under Roberto Martinez who has a knack of developing young players.