Could Porto unrest see City regret not signing Mangala and Fernando in January?

Eliaquim Mangala

Manchester City were tipped to revisit a move for the FC Porto pair this summer, but doubts about the manager's position could change that.

In the final few days of the January transfer window it looked like Manchester City were about to pull off a double deal that would have made them even stronger than they already are.

Reports claimed the Blues were in talks with FC Porto to bring Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando to the Etihad Stadium for a combined fee of £35million.

Considering the reported release-clause in Mangala’s contract is £37.8million, it looked like being a good piece of business, even if at the time Fernando was set to be a free-agent in the summer.

Reports have since claimed the midfielder has signed a new deal with the Portuguese club, although his long-term future remains in doubt given the links that persist.

But after the double transfer failed to materialise, with the BBC saying Porto were actually asking for in excess of £40million, it was claimed a move could be revisited in the summer.

Still with me? Good.

The problem comes when you consider Porto’s current state. Estoril’s 1-0 victory over the reigning Primeira Liga champions set the proverbial cat among the pigeons, to such an extent that coach Paulo Fonseca’s future is now reportedly in some doubt.

While rumours that he had resigned were quickly dismissed, the second-leg of their Europa League match against Eintracht Frankfurt has taken on added importance.

Having slipped seven points behind league leaders Benfica, and two behind Sporting Lisbon, Porto cannot afford too many more disappointments.

And if Fonseca does indeed leave at the end of the current campaign – or before if things do not improve – whoever takes over may opt against selling the pair that appeared close to a switch to City just last month.

If their release-clauses are met, that hypothetical boss may have no choice but to bid them farewell, but one wonders if City should have paid what was asked of them at the time, in order to secure two players who would have considerably strengthened their already formidable team.

image: © Clément Bucco-Lechat

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