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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, and they're expecting to see a significant profit from any potential sale after he 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 €27 million-rated Roma centre-back.

The Serie A side are understood to be interested in Aleksandar Kolarov, who could be used as a €12.3m makeweight in any transfer.

A player-plus-cash deal would work in City's favour after they were hit with a €60m fine by Uefa for a breach of Financial Fair Play rules, though they will receive €40m of the total fine back if they limit their summer spending to within €61m.

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 as they look to bolster a defence which has been further weakened by Carles Puyol's exit.

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