New Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly refusing to let Pepe be sold this summer, as he seeks to retain the Portuguese defender for his defensive unit next season.
It’s a blow to Manchester City who seemed to be very keen on securing the 30-year-old ahead of the new season, creating a defensive partnership with Vincent Kompany which could easily have been the best in the league next season.
However, as far as Joleon Lescott is concerned, every cloud has a silver lining and this could well be hi chance to prove to Manuel Pellegrini that he doesn’t need to go and get another central defender.
Lescott played a key part in City’s title winning 2011/2012 campaign but he was ousted from the team last season, with Roberto Mancini favouring the younger and less experienced Matija Nastasic.
That left Lescott in a very awkward position because there are defensive places up for grabs in terms of the England World Cup squad for the qualifiers this autumn and also the tournament itself in Brazil next summer.
If City don’t get another defender in before the start of the new season, that means they won’t sell Lescott because they need that level of cover heading into the new campaign to guard against the possibility of injury and suspensions, especially after Kolo Toure departed.
That leaves Lescott with a very simple game plan when it comes to getting into the team under Pellegrini and then staying there.
All he can so in pre-season is work his socks off and stay fit to the point where he can be much more effective late into games while other players are still working off the extra baggage from the summer holidays.
If he can make himself look like the best defender during pre-season then he has the best chance of starting in the back four next to Kompany when the league campaign gets under way.
Once he’s there, he simply can’t make any mistakes because Nastasic looked better and better as the season went on in the last Premier League campaign.
If City try and revitalise their interest in Pepe, or even go after another centre back, Lescott will have no choice but to move on because if he wants to play at the World Cup next summer, he needs to be playing regularly.
However, City’s failure to get Pepe or anyone else is a blessing in disguise because Lescott is already at a huge club, with a superb chance of winning multiple pieces of silverware next season.
How do you see Lescott’s summer, pre-season and normal season panning out?
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