Valencia consider Otamendi replacement options, after Mangala rejection

Mestalla Valencia

Officials at the Mestalla are sifting through central defensive options, following the sale of Nicolas Otamendi to Manchester City.

Whilst the sale of Nicolas Otamendi to Manchester City is going through, it is now confirmed that Eliaquim Mangala won't be heading in the opposite direction on loan, after the French international expressed his desire to stay put.

The Premier League club subsequently raised their cash offer to €45 million instead, which is closer to the release clause valuation of the player, but still leaves an important gap to be filled at the back for the Spanish club.

This is a considerable setback for Valencia and their plans, because with time running out before the end of the transfer window, replacing Otamendi with suitable quality at centre-back is going to pose a challenge.

According to Super Deporte, much of the planning now will depend on the outcome of the Champions League qualifier against Monaco, with the first-leg between the two sides taking place on Wednesday night.

If the side from the principality are beaten over two legs, the size of investment Valencia make in replacing Otamendi could be greater. If the Spanish side are eliminated though, a more humble move is likely to be made.

So what are the options for Valencia?

Officials at the Mestalla have obviously been aware for some time that Otamendi could be leaving, therefore a shortlist of defensive replacements had already been drafted.

Eliaquim Mangala was clearly the most convenient option, as part of a swap deal with Manchester City, but that option is now out of the question. Likewise, Valencia had also been tracking 22-year-old Antonio Rüdiger at Stuttgard, but he is now headed for AS Roma in Italy.

Considered a like for like replacement, 28-year-old Ezequiel Garay is considered the favourite, but purchasing him from Zenit Saint Petersburg will require a significant outlay, given the Russian club are aware Valencia are now cash rich following the sale of Otamendi.

The Argentine, who had spells with Racing Santander, Real Madrid and Benfica, is believed to have already given Valencia positive signals, but his capture may only be realised if they make the group stages of the Champions League.

Another potentially costly option is that of 23-year-old Stefan de Vrij from Lazio. His form since leaving Feyenoord for the Italians last summer has been exceptional, meaning they will be very reluctant to let him leave, unless Valencia pay a whopping fee.

The young Dutch international is also highly sought after, with media outlets in England, frequently linking the player with interest from Manchester United. Having missed out on Otamendi, a bid from Old Trafford could arrive before the end of the summer window.

Failing a move for either of those two centre-backs, Valencia have cast their sights further afield and towards two options currently playing in Argentina for River Plate.

22-year-old Eder Balanta is a powerful defender numerous leading European clubs have been linked with, but Valencia could be considered favourites, given he is represented by Portuguese super-agent, Jorge Mendes. An important figure at the club these days, frequently advising owner Peter Lim.

Balanta has been considered before, when Jeremey Mathieu was departing for Barcelona, but Valencia moved for Shkodran Mustafi instead. Now could present the ideal opportunity for the Colombian international to make his long-awaited move to Europe.

Finally, 19-year-old Emanuel Mamana is considered a huge prospect in Argentina, having made his full international debut already. River Plate will be reluctant to see him go, but a bid from Valencia would be difficult to resist.

The only down side is his youth and lack of top-flight experience, although Mammana is said to be a player highly recommended by former Valencia defensive icon, Roberto Ayala, who represents the club in South America.

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