Valencia manager plans Champions League team without Nicolas Otamendi

Mestalla Valencia

Nuno Espirito Santo has been testing a first-eleven without Nicolas Otamendi, with bids expected from Manchester United and Manchester City.

Argentine central defender Nicolas Otamendi is edging ever closer to the Mestalla exit door, according to Super Deporte, after manager Nuno Espirito Santo has begun planning his team without the player involved.

There had previously been expectations that come what may, Otamendi would feature in the Champions League play-off first-leg match against Monaco next Wednesday, as Valencia seek a place in the lucrative group stage of the competition.

Otamendi was a notable absentee from a training match between the Valencia first-team and B team Valencia Mestalla on Thursday, as Nuno paired Vezo with Mustafi in the heart of defence.

This is regarded as a clear indication that Nuno and Valencia are preparing for life without Otamendi, amidst suggestions that both Manchester City and Manchester United are preparing to make final offers over the coming days.

Further heightening thoughts a sale is imminent, are reports that president of the Valencia board, Layhoon Chan, is currently in Singapore meeting with club owner Peter Lim.

At this meeting, it is believed the final green light will be given for the sale of Otamendi, whilst plans are also established regarding who Valencia will move for as their replacement for the 27-year-old.

Ezequiel Garay of Zenit Saint Petersburg is seen as one candidate, whilst interestingly, Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala has also been strongly linked with interest from Valencia.

Of course, this breeds speculation that Manchester City could make a player plus cash offer for Otamendi, with Mangala heading in the opposite direction, whilst any bid from Manchester United would be a straight cash offer.

Thus far though, neither of the two Premier League clubs have met the €50 million release clause valuation set by Valencia, although the Spanish side may now be prepared to consider slightly lower bids, more towards the €35 million reportedly offered up to now.

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain may also enter the fray and are said to be monitoring the situation carefully, which raises the possibility they may be prepared to outbid both Manchester clubs. The coming days could prove decisive regarding the future destination for Otamendi.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch