Back in October, a number of reports claimed Chelsea had agreed a deal to sign FC Porto defender Nicolas Otamendi next summer.
The story stemmed from Spanish newspaper Marca, which claimed that despite interest from Barcelona and AC Milan, the Argentina international would move to Stamford Bridge.
And then everything went quiet, until the same player was linked with Manchester City, along with his club-mate and fellow defender Eliaquim Mangala.
At this point, both are still very much Porto players, with Mangala tipped last week to be offered an improved contract in an attempt to ward off potential suitors.
But now Portuguese newspaper A Bola has picked up on claims from Spain that Barcelona are paying close attention to the defensive duo.
Newspaper Sport claims Barcelona’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta rates both players extremely highly, as he continues his pursuit of new defenders for the La Liga champions.
The report adds that with both Monaco and PSG reportedly interested, Porto would be willing to let one player go in January, but not both.
Chelsea and City will not want to get into a bidding war with either of the French sides. But if the previous reports of a deal to bring Otamendi to London is just paper-talk, with some of Europe’s biggest – and biggest-spending – clubs interested in the pair, the English sides may have to act fast or not at all.
Mangala has a release-clause of €40million, while Otamendi is rated on transfermarkt.com at €13million.
And while the latest reports are no more likely to be true than those that came before, the one certain thing is that both players will be regulars in the rumour mill in the coming months.
image: © mariosp