Manchester City are reportedly considering adding to their defensive options in the January transfer window, with Inter Milan's Milan Skriniar and Shakhtar Donetsk's Mykola Matviyenko said to be on their shortlist.
The Premier League champions have struggled in defence this season, with Vincent Kompany leaving the club in the summer and no replacement drafted in. Aymeric Laporte has also been sidelined with a long-term injury, while John Stones has picked up a number of knocks.
If City were to make a move in the January window, it will be at odds with the answers provided by Pep Guardiola recently on possible incoming players:
Of all the players interesting City, Skriniar is the most high-profile and would arguably be the most difficult to prise away.
It's said that after signing a new contract at the San Siro recently, Inter would likely demand a fee in excess of the £80 million that Manchester United paid to sign Harry Maguire in the summer, which was a world-record amount for a defender.
Skriniar would arguably be worth that kind of outlay, as the 24-year-old has cemented his status as one of the best centre-backs in the game in recent years.
He'd also be an ideal fit for City and the brand of football they play under Guardiola. In addition to being a commanding and physical presence in defence, Skriniar is adept in his work on the ball too:
In the past, Skriniar has been linked with a number of top clubs, with his agent confirming last year that Real Madrid and Barcelona wanted to sign him:
Matviyenko is not a household name, but City have been keeping tabs on his performances in the UEFA Champions League this season, per Ornstein. The Ukrainian international played in both games against the Manchester outfit in the competition.
At the start of the season, the decision not to sign a defender was a curious one from City, and it has ultimately cost them. With Laporte absent, the team have been regularly shaky at the back and prevented City from challenging for the Premier League title.
With Liverpool 14 points clear of the defending champions, it's almost unthinkable that any defender brought in in January will be part of a domestic league win. However, if City are to seriously challenge in the Champions League this season, it feels like an area they need to strengthen.