By Kris Voakes
Nicolas Otamendi is set to be left out of Valencia's Champions League play-off crunch clash with Monaco amid interest from Manchester City, Goal understands.
The Argentine centre-back was not among the players selected for a trial match against Valencia Mestalla which coach Nuno Espirito Santo had arranged to gear his team up for next week's European home leg against the Ligue 1 giants.
Following the cooling of interest from Manchester United, Otamendi has now become a target for Premier League rivals Man City as they search for a top centre-back having failed to sign Aymeric Laporte and Diego Godin.
Athletic Bilbao star Laporte had been followed closely by the City hierarchy for some time and they were hoping to make their move this summer until the 21-year-old signed a new four-year deal at San Mames which included a €50 million (£35m) buyout clause.
And after they turned their attentions to Godin the Uruguayan made it known he would rather sign a new four-year contract with Atletico Madrid than accept a pay rise to move to the Etihad Stadium.
As a result, City have set their sights on 27-year-old Otamendi, whose £35m release clause scared off interest from neighbours Manchester United.
Otamendi shared close quarters with Pellegrini during this summer's Copa America tournament in Chile, and it is thought that the City boss sees the left-sided centre-back as significant competition for Eliaquim Mangala.
The French defender struggled to earn a regular spot in his first season with the club last term and Martin Demichelis has only 10 months to run on his City contract, leaving the club hoping to bolster their defensive options long-term.
And the decision by Nuno to prepare for Wednesday's Monaco clash without Otamendi has heightened speculation that City could be about to do a deal for the former Velez Sarsfield defender.