Manchester City's Pursuit of Pepe Continues as They Try to Agree a Fee
Manchester City’s need for defensive reinforcements is obvious and reports today suggest that their desire to sign Real Madrid’s Pepe is as strong as ever, but only at the right price.
The Spanish side are said to be keen to keep hold of him but Manuel Pellegrini has made him City’s top target. With Matija Nastasic injured and Kolo Toure still not replaced, City want to bolster their defence with an experienced player.
The stumbling block will be the fee. Madrid don’t want to sell but their pursuit of Gareth Bale, who will cost a world-record sum if he is to be lured away from Tottenham, means they may be tempted at the right price. City have apparently had a bid of £15 million rejected, with Real wanting £30 million.
The Guardian's Daniel Taylor, arguably the most respected journalist in England, also confirmed City's continued interest on Twitter:
Already been widely reported, but #MCFC not giving up on Pepe from Real Madrid, haggling over money etc— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) August 14, 2013
City were already short at the back before Nastasic’s injury. Toure played 18 times for City last season and he hasn’t been replaced, with the injury to City’s brilliant young Serb further exacerbating an already precarious situation. Joleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany are City’s only fit, experienced central defenders, with the relatively untried Dedryck Boyata as cover.
The Express have suggested that City has lined up 32-year-old Atletico Madrid defender Martin Demichelis as their alternative should Pepe prove too expensive. If that’s true, it seems Pellegrini is prioritising experience in his search for a player to increase competition at the back.
Pellegrini clearly wants a defender with Champions League pedigree.
City have struggled in their two seasons of Champions League football and he knows full well the importance of having players who can handle the pressure of European games.
Most City fans would rather see a younger player arrive, but with the window dragging on and very few young centre-backs available, a move for a quality player like Pepe looks ever more enticing.
As the window gets closer to its conclusion, Real will become more flexible in negotiations. City will be hoping to capitalise and snap up a top defender at a fair price.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity
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