Updates from Monday, Aug. 11
Eliaquim Mangala was confirmed as a Manchester City player on Monday, via the club's official Twitter account:
Manchester City's long-term pursuit of Porto centre-back Eliaquim Mangala finally looks set to be rewarded, with Sky Blues boss Manuel Pellegrini hopeful of completing the transfer soon.
Following the Premier League champions' 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in Sunday's Community Shield at Wembley, Pellegrini was quizzed about Mangala and whether the transfer of the 23-year-old was imminent, per Oliver Todd in the Daily Mail:
I hope [so]. I think some papers are missing but we continue having an interest in the player and the player wants to come so we’ll see what will happen during the week.
Indeed, Pellegrini seemed to let slip that the £30 million signing of Mangala was all but done when he included him in a list of City's summer signings, per Stuart Brennan in the Manchester Evening News:
The players that we have brought in – Fernando, [Willy] Caballero, [Bacary] Sagna and Mangala – will help the team and will make us stronger defending but I hope we continue to be strong offensively. I’m happy with the squad.
Brennan's report suggests that the France international will be unveiled on Thursday ahead of City's Premier League season opener away to Newcastle three days later.
While City were missing regular centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis at Wembley, the performance highlighted the deficiencies of back-up pairing Dedryck Boyata and Matija Nastasic.
Mangala would bring great physicality and authority to the City back line, and his youth means he will likely improve even further in the long-term, per football journalist Paul Sarahs:
If Mangala does indeed make the switch to the Etihad, it will mark the culmination of a transfer saga that stretches back to last year when City first enquired after the player.
Issues surrounding third-party ownership have dogged the move, scuppering any potential completion of the deal back in January, per football commentator Deji Faremi:
However, the move now looks set to be completed and will likely mark the end of City's transfer dealings for the summer.
The Sky Blues will be looking to claim their third Premier League title in four years in 2014-15, and the arrival of Mangala could be key in providing real depth in central defence.
With City set to compete both domestically and in Europe next season, Pellegrini will need a strong side; Mangala will most certainly improve the squad.