According to the Daily Star, Manchester City are eying a £25million deal to bring in Real Madrid centre-back Pepe.
This is not the first time City have been linked with the Portuguese international, but it is suggested that the reason behind City’s latest interest stems from Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala turning down the chance to sign for the Citizens, with claims suggesting he would prefer a move to Chelsea.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini has coached Pepe before during his spell in the Spanish capital as Real Madrid boss, and he knows all about the Portuguese international’s strengths.
After winning the Premier League this season, City’s next step is to go further in the Champions League and to do so they need more quality in defence.
Belgian international Vincent Kompany is world-class, but his defensive partners this season have left a lot to be desired – especially against top class opposition – and 31-year-old Pepe has allegedly been pinpointed as the man for the role.
Whether the defender would be tempted to trade the Santiago Bernabeu for the Etihad Stadium remains to be seen, but one man who could secretly be hoping he does not is Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.
Should Pepe leave, it would almost certainly pave the way for fellow centre-back Raphael Varane to stake his claim as Real Madrid’s long-term new centre-back.
The French international is currently behind Pepe and Sergio Ramos in the pecking order, but Jose Mourinho is a big fan and has reportedly told the Blues owner Roman Abramovich that he wants him at Stamford Bridge.
The 21-year-old defender shot to fame under the self-proclaimed Special One during Mourinho’s final season in charge at Madrid, becoming a first-team regular and replacing Pepe.
Last season, however, Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti opted for more experience and Varane made just 23 appearances in all competitions.
Rated at £21million, Mourinho’s plans of making his dream signing come true hinge on Pepe and Sergio Ramos keeping him out of the side, and City could yet still have a huge say in that matter.