Manchester City are looking at a deal for Sevilla centre-back Jules Koundé which could see Nicolas Otamendi move in the opposite direction.
Koundé, 21, has been earmarked by Real Madrid and Barcelona as a target for future windows but City are considering him to bolster Pep Guardiola’s defence ahead of the October 5 transfer deadline.
The France Under-21 international played a key role in Sevilla winning the Europa League last month and has a £68.25 million release clause which makes his market valuation fall within the price bracket City pay for their first-team signings.
Sevilla have expressed an interest in Otamendi, 32, who could be used as a makeweight in a deal. City will listen to offers for the Argentina international after five seasons at the Etihad Stadium. In that time he has won the Premier League title twice.
Otamendi has two years left on his current contract and would command a fee, reducing the cost of a deal for Koundé.
Koundé is now on Guardiola’s radar as he steps up his search for a centre-back this summer. He has already signed Nathan Ake from Bournemouth in a £41 million deal but would ideally want to add one more.
Guardiola’s defence is being rebuilt since the departure of Vincent Kompany to Anderlecht as a coach, with a big presence wanted to partner left-sided centre-back Aymeric Laporte. Koundé is seen as a player who would fit alongside his French compatriot following his excellent first season in La Liga. He was signed from Bordeaux in a deal worth £22.7 million.
Sevilla would stand to make a huge profit on their outlay, even if Koundé does not leave for his full buy-out price.
City have looked at Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly but negotiations have been complicated by bad blood between the teams after they looked like doing business for Jorginho two years ago, only for the player to join Chelsea at the last minute.
They have also considered Uruguay centre-back José Giménez but Atletico Madrid are looking for £81 million plus £4.5 million in add-ons for the 25-year-old. Koulibaly would also be an expensive deal but City’s executives have been consistent on their policy not to overpay in the market. They have invested heavily in Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling – making them among the most valuable players in the market – but have never broken the £70 million mark for a transfer fee.
Koundé’s team-mate at Sevilla, Diego Carlos, has also been looked at by City. But Koundé fits into the bracket of player who would offer value at an age where he will progress into the France national team.
He played regularly for Sevilla and caught the eye in their run to winning the Europa, starting against Roma, Wolves, Manchester United and Inter Milan in the latter stages.
Sergio Agüero is unlikely to be available for Manchester City’s opening match of the new Premier League season against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Monday.
The Argentina striker has not played since injuring his left knee in the 5-0 win over Burnley in late June and is still not yet ready to return to action.
Agüero, 32, who has entered the final year of his contract with City, has not trained with his team-mates this week but he has been been working hard to regain full fitness.
The forward posted footage of himself on Instagram working alone at the end of last month.
Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez is expected to be available against Wolves after returning to training this week after testing positive for coronavirus and being forced to self isolate.
City had been confident defender Aymeric Laporte would also be available after he tested positive for Covid-19, too, but the Frenchman was missing from training on Wednesday and it remains to be seen if he is involved at Molineux.