United in the clear to sign £35m defender as City look elsewhere

Manchester City have reportedly made a €30m offer for Real Madrid defender Pepe - leaving Manchester United clear to sign Eliaquim Mangala.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini clinched the Premier League title in his first season in charge at the Etihad Stadium, but they still need to keep strengthening this summer as they chase a third title in four seasons next term. The Financial Fair Play regulations will limit City's impact on the transfer market this summer, but there will be almost certainly still be at least one marquee signing for the club.

Finding a partner for Vincent Kompany in the heart of the defence has been a priority for years but they have still struggled to land a suitable player. Joleon Lescott is poised to leave the club, whilst Matija Nastasic has fallen out of favour and Martin Demichelis is little more than an experienced stop gap.

As a result, Pellegrini has been linked with a big money swoop for Real Madrid star Pepe - who he managed during his solitary season as manager of Los Blancos. The 31-year-old is now the subject of a €30m bid from City, who see the Portuguese international as the partner for Kompany.

Their pursuit of Pepe would suggest that City have turned their attention away from Porto's French international star Mangala - leaving city rivals Manchester United in the clear to snap up the 23-year-old centre back.

Mangala, formerly of Standard Liege, has made it clear that he would rather sign for United than City, and it appears that Pellegrini's men have taken that as a sign to abandon their pursuit of the defender.

Meanwhile, United are in desperate need of help in the centre of their defence after allowing long-serving duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand to leave the club after their contracts expired. Whilst Mangala is just one player, he possesses the aerial dominance of Vidic and the athleticism of Ferdinand, and he has huge potential to be a star for years to come - if United do land their man.

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