Although Manchester City have been unsuccessful in their attempts to sell Nigel De Jong thus far, they have already began earmarking a replacement, with one possible option being Ezequiel Cirigliano.
De Jong’s agent has been busy for much of the summer attempting to orchestrate a move for his client, who has found Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry difficult to dislodge in Roberto Mancini’s central midfield.
These efforts have so far proved in vain, with Bayern Munich the latest to state that they are uninterested in securing the services of the Dutchman.
Although De Jong is strong in a positional sense at Manchester City and is more than an adept shield for the defence, the belief is that Mancini is targeting someone who offers that little bit more and who can have more of an influence in instigating attacks.
Cirigliano has been likened to Javier Mascherano in Argentina and as well as being able to break up play and recycle possession, he has the capacity to be a playmaker from a deep position.
He has been touted as one of the top players in Argentina and was arguably the key factor in River Plate’s promotion last season.
However, City may face competition from neighbours Manchester United, who also have the 20-year-old on their radar.
The Red Devils have already benefited from the likes of Rafael, Fabio and Javier Hernandez through their Central and South American scouting and this seems the focus of their intentions this summer.
Brazilian winger Lucas Moura has been widely reported as a target, but it is in the central areas where Sir Alex Ferguson is most in need of reinforcements.
If either club do manage to persuade River Plate to sell, they will have a squad player capable of making a difference, especially against opposition happy to concede possession.
Manchester City’s odds are 6/5 to make a successful defence of their Premier League title this season, with Manchester United 5/2 to claim top spot.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.