By Paul Clennam
Joleon Lescott has been told his proposed move to West Ham is on hold until Manchester City sign a replacement, with the club stepping up their pursuit of Porto duo Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi in recent days.
Manuel Pellegrini despatched scouts to Portugal last weekend to watch Porto’s 2-0 defeat against Benfica in Lisbon, in which both centre-half targets featured.
City are keen to reinforce their defence this month and had identified the £35 million-rated (€42m) Mangala as the ideal candidate to partner captain Vincent Kompany, but view his Argentine team-mate as a potentially cheaper alternative.
Lescott, meanwhile, is hopeful of sealing a move to West Ham where he will be guaranteed first-team football and a chance to boost his hopes of being included in England’s World Cup squad.
The 31-year-old has agreed deal in principle with the Hammers that would see the relegation-threatened side match his £90,000-a-week (€108,000) salary until the end of the current campaign and will receive a bonus three-year deal on £50,000-a-week (€60,000) should he help Sam Allardyce’s team beat the drop.
The east London club ended a nightmare run of just one win in their last 10 games with victory over fellow strugglers Cardiff on Saturday and currently sit one place outside the drop zone by virtue of a superior goal difference.
Lescott, who moved to the Etihad Stadium from Everton back in 2009 and who was an integral part of City’s title-winning campaign, has featured just 15 times under Pellegrini this season.