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Man City want Mendy & Bertrand as part of four-man full-back overhaul Featured

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Published in Football Transfers
Wednesday, 07 June 2017 09:21

Reports on Tuesday suggested the Premier League club will move for the Southampton man instead of the Monaco defender, but both are targets

Manchester City are in the market for four new full-backs this summer, including both Benjamin Mendy and Ryan Bertrand, Goal understands.

Reports on Tuesday morning suggested City were closing in on a deal for Southampton left-back Bertrand as a result of Monaco's £40 million asking-price for Mendy.

But Goal has previously reported that Mendy has been City's priority left-back target for a matter of months, and sources close to the deal stress that Monaco's demands are nothing new.

The Blues had hoped to have been closer to completing a deal for the 22-year-old but Monaco have put up a fight to keep him.

Sources in France suggested over the weekend that there is a chance the Frenchman could elect to stay at Stade Louis II, though City will continue to push for his signature and, after months of encouragement, they still hope to bring him to the club.

It has now emerged that Pep Guardiola wants to bring in Bertrand to work alongside Mendy next season.

Guardiola believes Bertrand has the ability and character to contribute to his plans for the club, while the England international would also boost City's homegrown player quota.

There are currently no recognised full-backs at the club after the release of Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy, while Aleksandar Kolarov has been converted to a centre-back under Guardiola. Reinforcements for that position have therefore become a top priority this summer.

Tottenham defender Kyle Walker is City's top target for the right-back role, and the club remain confident they will seal a deal in the coming weeks. Like Monaco, however, Tottenham are proving to be reluctant sellers, with City often left exasperated by chairman Daniel Levy's negotiating tactics.

But sources close to the deal insist they will find a breakthrough for the England right-back.

City are also in the market for a fourth full-back this summer. The identity of the Blues' preferred target remains unknown, but it is believed Paris Saint-Germain's Serge Aurier is not a candidate. Benfica's Nelson Semedo, Monaco's Fabinho and Arsenal's Hector Bellerin have also been ruled out by senior City sources.

Although wary that Monaco and Spurs could continue to make things difficult regarding Mendy and Walker, City hope to sign all four of their targets this summer.

If they are successful then that will be another factor in whether they decide to move for a centre-back. Although City had put together a list of three potential options, a move for a centre-back will only be decided later this summer. Virgil Van Dijk is no longer in the frame, however, as he has made it known that he prefers a move to Liverpool.

City have identified a goalkeeper, two full-backs, an attacking midfielder and a forward as their foremost priorities. Bernardo Silva has arrived from Monaco to fill the attacking midfield position while Ederson is City's top target for goalkeeper, and his signing will be officially confirmed by the Premier League club once his paperwork has been cleared by the relevant authorities.

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez is the No.1 forward option, and, after months of legwork, City still believe they have a real chance of signing him, despite the Gunners' preference to sell him to Bayern Munich.

Goal has reported on Tuesday morning that Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci is weighing up a move to England before next season. City sources have previously stressed that he is not an option, though the club's plans are so flexible there could be a late change of heart if the Italian does leave Juve and Guardiola decides to buy a defender.

Athletic's Aymeric Laporte will not be considered after he angered the club last summer by pulling out of a move at the 11th hour.

Beyond the first five targets for the five priority positions, City's plans are extremely fluid and far from decided at this stage of the summer. The club essentially have two lists; the first contains their five top targets, and the second contains various different players who could be signed if the opportunity presents itself, or if circumstances dictate.

A number of factors are affecting City's search for a centre-back, for example, including their interest in Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe, another player on the 'second list' of targets.

City would rather wait to sign the 18-year-old next summer, but if the opportunity arose this summer they would spend over £100m to land him. Real Madrid's interest is a significant stumbling block for City, however, and Monaco are also desperate to keep him.

Vincent Kompany's fitness is also a factor in City's thinking; if he remains fit this summer, and if Mbappe can be signed, the club may decide to stick with that they have got at the centre of defence.

And their plans could also be affected if they sign all four of their full-back targets. The cost of four new defenders would likely far surpass £100m, which would also restrict what City could spend on other targets, though Guardiola would be content that he would have enough options in his defence if four new full-backs are signed.

That also raises the possibility that the second right-back could potentially play at centre-back if required. Joshua Kimmich, a favourite of Guardiola during his time at Bayern Munich, has been linked in recent months.

If City sign just three or even two of their full-back targets, however, it is believed they would be more likely to move for a new out-and-out centre-back.

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    Bertrand, who won his 14th England cap in Tuesday's 3-2 defeat, signed a new five-year contract with Southampton last summer after joining from Chelsea in a £10million deal in 2015 after an initial loan spell.

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