Despite the summer transfer window closing several weeks ago, talk of deals that could be completed in January has already begun. Manchester City are never far away from transfer gossip and have already been linked with a number of players ahead of the next transfer period.
How solid the links are is anyone’s guess, but here’s news of two potential deals purported by the media in recent days.
One name strongly linked with City is Porto’s French defender Eliaquim Mangala. The 22-year-old was apparently high up City’s list of targets this summer and a January bid has been mooted.
According to Sky Sports, Mangala is flattered by City’s interest, describing them as “one of the big clubs in the world,” but insisted he is happy at Porto:
I am delighted to continue and progress with Porto. I like the club and I never asked to leave and they were not willing to sell me in the first place.
People talk about my valuation as high but it is not me who prices me. But it does not affect me, my job is to come and perform at my best on the green surface. Man City is nowadays one of the big clubs in the world so you are always flattered by their interest in you.
The former Standard Liege player, who has three caps for France, is seen as one of the finest prospects in Europe, but he comes with a huge £30 million price tag.
City’s lack of strength in depth at the back may see them go in for a centre-back in January, and Mangala is likely to be high on their list of priorities.
With Joe Hart’s form still not back to the level he showed during City’s FA Cup and title-winning campaigns, talk of a new goalkeeper arriving continues to increase. Iker Casillas, Real Madrid’s marginalised 'keeper, is the latest said to be interesting City, according to reports in The Guardian and The Express.
The 32-year-old has an incredible 150 caps for Spain and is undoubtedly one of the finest goalkeepers of this generation; however, his time at Real Madrid has soured. Having lost his place under Jose Mourinho last season, he has struggled to reclaim his first-team spot, with Diego Lopez still in possession of the shirt under Carlo Ancelotti.
For now, Hart, who has kept four clean sheets in his last four games for club and country, has Pellegrini’s backing, but should his less-than-impressive form continue, Pellegrini may consider alternatives.
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