Colombian Passarella among young defenders Man City must monitor

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For much of January and not far short of the whole of April, speculation has continued that Manchester City are closing in on the capture of French defender Eliaquim Mangala from FC Porto for a fee pushing on close to £35m.

Among the alleged reasons why the deal wasn’t concluded in January was that the 23-year-old wanted assurances of first-team action, as he chases a spot in the French squad for the World Cup.

With Joleon Lescott almost guaranteed to move on, Micah Richards’ future up in the air and Martin Demichelis getting no younger, it would be amazing if Man City didn’t sign at least two central defenders.

And the defence have to take their portion of the blame for Man City being underdogs at 5/1 to win the Premier League, as with four games remaining, they have already conceded more than in any of the last three campaigns.

Buying with the future in mind is always a prudent strategy and the following three youngsters should certainly be on the Man City wishlist alongside Mangala.

Eder Balanta

Compared to legendary Argentine defender and twice World Cup winner Daniel Passarella by current River Plate boss Ramon Diaz, 21-year-old Balanta has already been capped by the Colombian national team.

Quick, capable of bringing the ball of defence and left-footed, which could be a bigger asset alongside Vincent Kompany, an appearance or two at the World Cup will only increase his hype further.

Jeffrey Gouweleeuw

Gouweleeuw is contracted to AZ Alkmaar until 2018 after signing from Heerenveen at the start of the season and is recognised as being a defender with a playmaking edge.

Despite this, he also trumps both Kompany and Demichelis this season in the number of tackles he averages per game and in terms of interceptions.

Aleksandar Dragovic

Arsenal are among the clubs to be previously linked with the Austrian, who eventually opted to join Dynamo Kiev last season from Basel on a five-year deal.

Already capped 28 times by Austria, Dragovic is a no-nonsense defender that is also being monitored by the likes of Barcelona and Inter Milan.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.