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Issues involving third party ownership have complicated the signing of the Porto centre-back, which could force the Premier League champions to target the Roma defender

By Paul Clennam

Manchester City are set to turn their attentions to a move for Roma defender Mehdi Benatia as a deal to sign Porto's Eliaquim Mangala grows increasingly complicated.

The Premier League champions have pursued Mangala for several months and attempted to sign the centre-back in January, only for the deal to fall through.

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Federico Casotti | Goal Italia

In Italy there have been rumours of a strong interest in Mehdi Benatia from Manchester United rather than City, but the Premier League champions boast the spending power to sign the centre-back.

Roma signed Benatia last year in a deal worth €13.5m [£11m], and they're expecting to see a significant profit from any potential sale after the centre-back enjoyed an exceptional season.
And the Etihad Stadium side have grown frustrated as the deal continues to stall and could now push ahead with a move for the £22 million-rated Roma centre-back.

The Serie A side are understood to be interested in Aleksandar Kolarov, who could be used as a £10m makeweight in any transfer.

A player-plus-cash deal would work in City's favour after they were hit with a £49m fine by Uefa for a breach of Financial Fair Play rules, though they will receive £32.5m of the total fine back if they limit their summer spending to within £50m.

City's attempted double move for Mangala and Fernando hit a snag over third party ownership, with Porto owning only 56.67 per cent of the defender's rights, and 90 per cent of the Brazilian midfielder's.

And Mangala has now publicly courted a move to Chelsea, stating a preference for a switch to London over Manchester.

But the Stamford Bridge side have made Gary Cahill a mainstay in their starting XI, handed John Terry a one-year contract extension at the end of the season and signed Kurt Zouma from St Etienne in January before loaning the 19-year-old back to the Ligue 1 outfit.

City suspect Mangala is stalling in the hope of attracting further interest from other top clubs in Europe, including Paris Saint-Germain.

Meanwhile, Barcelona are also rumoured to be interested in Benatia.

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