According to latest reports, Real Madrid are planning to table a bid for Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi. The La Liga leaders are going for some very big names next season as their transfer ban gets lifted. And with a lot of ageing players getting disposed of in the next few seasons, the club is planning a smooth transition.
One of the aged legs who is likely to depart from Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season is their Portuguese centre-half, Pepe. As per reports, the towering defender is all set to join Chinese side Hebei China Fortune and Zidane wants to replace him with someone of similar attributes. Strongly-built and aggressive in approach, Pepe has never been the intelligent one at the back with great game reading abilities. He has, rather, hugely relied on his strength and physique to win battles for the team.
And Real Madrid thinks that Manchester City’s Otamendi is the perfect replacement for him. The 29-year-old Argentine is among the top summer targets of Los Blancos and his agent, Jorge Mendes, has apparently even held talks with the defending UCL champions about the possibility of a move.
Otamendi has been by far the only defender in the City who has adapted Guardiola’s fluid setup perfectly. He has played on the defensive flanks as well as the from the centre under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager, showing exactly why he has been their first choice since his move from Valencia in back 2015 for £28.5m.
However, Guardiola is unlikely to be very keen on retaining the player, as the manager doesn’t think him to be a ball-playing defender. City are expecting a mass exodus at the end of the season with the manager planning to move for centre-half options like Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk and Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Bilbao.
A central defender by nature, Otamendi can play as a right-back too, which makes him all the more desirable for Real Madrid. With Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane already first-choice centre-halves, Zidane could use Otamendi in place of Carvajal occasionally.
An academy product of Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield, FC Porto realised his potential in 2010. After four good years with the Portuguese side, he was loaned off to Brazilian side Clube Atlético Mineiro before Valencia bought him in 2014.
Otamendi has garnered interest for his timely tackles and ability to read the game well, which makes him a great interceptor of the ball. One concern, however, might be his lack of discipline; something Zidane will have to be aware of currently.
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