According to Simon Jones in the Mail, Manchester City finally look set to sign Fernando, the Porto midfielder who was close to joining Manuel Pellegrini's squad in January only for the deal, which also involved his teammate Eliaquim Mangala, to fall through at the last moment.
It seems director of football Txiki Begiristain has been working on the deal ever since, with the Brazilian set to join his countryman Fernandinho in the City midfield. The fee is thought to be around £15 million, more than City offered in January, but after Porto made him sign a new contract or risk being dropped an increased fee was always likely.
It's a move which should will ensure City have much more flexibility in midfield next season after an over-reliance on Yaya Toure and Fernandinho caused them some problems during the title-winning campaign just gone.
Javi Garcia provided cover and performed excellently in the second half of the season, but doubts remain over his long-term suitability to English football after a difficult start to life in the Premier League—his lack of pace seemingly holding him back from becoming a genuine top-quality option.
Fernando will allow Pellegrini to rotate his central midfielders more frequently, meaning a fresher first-choice pair than at times this season when Toure and Fernandinho looked overworked.
He also brings different qualities—an out-and-out defensive midfielder of the like City haven't seen since Nigel De Jong's departure—giving them the option of going for a three-man midfield in tight away matches against the top sides at home and abroad.
All of which, of course, depends on Toure's future, which remains up in the air after a series of mystifying comments from his agent, Dimity Seluk.
If Toure does stay, it will mean City are extremely well-stocked in central-midfield and will be able to better cope with the rigours of being in four competitions.
However, at 31, and with value currently as high as it will ever be after a wonderful season which saw him score 20 league goals, City may well decide Toure is expendable, and the search for his successor will begin.
Meanwhile, Bacary Sagna's free transfer from Arsenal to City appears to be edging closer. The right-back, fresh from an outstanding season for the Gunners, looks set to pen a three-year deal (via the Guardian).
Much like Fernando, his arrival will ensure further rotation is available to Pellegrini after a season in which Pablo Zabaleta had little competition for his place and played 48 games in all.
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: @RobPollard_.
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