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The three alternatives if Manchester City's Fernando move fails

The FC Porto midfielder was targeted by the Premier League title chasers in the January window and was tipped for a move alongside teammate Eliaquim Mangala

Manchester City are still widely believed to be the frontrunners in the race to sign FC Porto's Fernando, with The Manchester Evening News claiming he could sacrifice his World Cup aspirations to seal a move.

A deadline day switch alongside his teammate Eliaquim Mangala was heavily mooted but never came to pass, with City baulking at the reported £45m fee to secure their services.

A report in Tuttosport this morning, however, suggests Juventus may enter the running for the much-coveted midfield enforcer, whose future appears to be away from the Estadio do Dragao.

So, in the event Manuel Pellegrini and City cannot complete a deal for Fernando, here is a list of three alternatives he could opt for. The need for an extra midfield reinforcement was magnified on Monday night after Martin Demichelis' poor performance in the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.

Maxime Gonalons

The French midfielder has excelled during his time at Lyon and was named the club's skipper after a meteoric rise to first-team standing.

Gonalons is a fully-fledged international operating in a defensive midfield position and is renowned for his destructive qualities and tireless stamina, attributes which attracted Napoli.

The Serie A outfit were confident they could seal a move for the 24-year-old, who has also been linked with Arsenal in the past - but Les Gones chief Remi Garde blocked the deal as he looks to build on a promising opening half of the Ligue 1 season.

Given that Napoli's gambit was around the £14m mark, a move for Gonalons would represent a bargain, in the current transfer market, as well as proven quality.

Morgan Schneiderlin

The Southampton midfielder has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water having been with the Saints since 2008 and is similar to Gonalons in approach.

But Schneiderlin can also play slightly further forward, owing to his composure and ability on the ball and has already notched an assist and a goal this term to show for his work.

It would be a potentially costly addition to bring in the Frenchman, who still has three years left on his deal and with Mauricio Pochettino staying on the grounds his key players will stay, the south coast club could command up to £25m for their prized possession.

Mario Suarez

The Atletico Madrid man has been one of the key components in his side's efforts to displace the duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga, with Los Colchoneros reaching top spot for the first time since 1996 last week.

Suarez is defensive-minded but with an eye for a pass and his combative qualities are the sort that were so sorely lacking from Demichelis' performance at the Etihad Stadium on Monday.

Akin to Schneiderlin's contract at Southampton, Suarez has years left on his contract and it remains to be seen whether Atleti would be willing to part with a man who would leave a glaring vacancy in their midfield and answer some, if not all, of City's midfield problems when Yaya Toure and Fernandinho are absent.

image: © geetarchurchy

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