Having lost burgeoning centre back Matija Nastasic to the physio's room for the first six weeks of the Premier League season due to an ankle injury suffered by the Serbian, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has prioritised a defensive recruit.
However, any attempt to sign top target Pepe, of Real Madrid and Portugal, has been thwarted as the two clubs differ in their valuation of the 30-year-old. With a £20m bid rejected, City will - instead of increasing their offer - consider alternative options with Argentinean veteran Martin Demichelis the likeliest recruit.
Demichelis, 32, is confident on the ball and has, in the past, shown a penchant for dribbling the ball out of defence. He plays safe passes, is strong in the air, intuitive at making interceptions and is an accomplished tackler.
With the departure of Kolo Toure to Liverpool on top of the short-term loss of Nastasic, the Citizens are left with Joleon Lescott and rear-guard rock Vincent Kompany as the two recognised centre backs. While Yaya Toure or Micah Richards could be shuffled in to deputise for one of the two aforementioned players, Demichelis would represent a safer third choice.
Demichelis, though, has only recently joined Atletico Madrid, having also represented Malaga (where he worked with Pellegrini), Bayern Munich and River Plate. A number of tabloids, including the Mirror, believe this is not a stumbling block providing a £3m bid is tabled.
image: © Mark Freeman