Manchester City have splashed out on Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte to the tune of £57m – a club record.
The 23-year-old central defender will bolster an already strong City back-line, with the acquisitions of full backs Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy already in place. Centre back has remained an issue however, with captain Vincent Kompany only recently getting sustained game-time after a long injury-strewn period.
Another factor in the central situation is the form of Eliaquim Mangala.
The Frenchman arrived at the Eithad in 2014 for around 42m, but has made just 79 appearances for City in that time, having gone out on loan to Valencia last season. Despite the apparent lack of trust in him, manager Pep Guardiola has been keen to hold onto the player.
He claimed in November that Mangala would not leave in the January transfer window.
“He is our player and he is going to stay here in the winter break,” Guardiola said at the time.
“I am really impressed about his behaviour in the training sessions. He hasn’t played regularly until now and he has always accepted it. When that happened he kept his head down. For a manager, for a club and for the environment in the squad that is so important.”
Guardiola did so again earlier today.
Mangala a "top top top" defender, "helps us a lot – he's going to stay", Pep says..
— jamie jackson (@JamieJackson___) January 30, 2018
Despite this, Newcastle United, West Ham United and former loan club Valencia are eager to sign the 26-year-old before tomorrow’s transfer deadline day, according to ESPN.
Their sources state that either a loan move once again, or indeed a permanent one, could occur, with Mangala now “available” for a move.