Man City target £20m Liverpool man and more expensive Spanish star

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Strengthening his defensive options seems one of the top priorities for Roberto Mancini this summer with Manchester City priced at 11/8 to defend their Premier League title and it is Martin Skrtel and Javi Martinez that feature prominently on his shopping list.

Captain Vincent Kompany and England defender Joleon Lescott have formed a formidable partnership at the heart of the Manchester City defence this season, but there is little cover if either was to get injured.

Kolo Toure has lost some of the sparkle that he had previously had at Arsenal, while Stefan Savic has found life difficult since his switch from Partizan Belgrade.

Players who can perform in multiple positions are highly valuable when teams are battling for multiple trophies and Mancini has already benefited from having the likes of James Milner and Pablo Zabaleta in his ranks.

Martinez would be another shrewd acquisition as his strong displays for Athletic Bilbao this season have earned him a call up to Spain’s Euro 2012 squad.

Martinez is arguably most at home in the centre of midfield and would be a more than suitable replacement should Nigel De Jong leave this summer, with a move to Inter Milan something that has been speculated.

Meanwhile, as is a rising trend in La Liga, Martinez can also be utilised at centre half, with teams that enjoy lots of possession preferring to have a player comfortable on the ball in their defence.

Alternatively, if Mancini would rather a player who is an outright defender first, Liverpool’s Skrtel is an option.

Skrtel was voted Liverpool’s player of the year by fans this season, but is reportedly considering leaving Anfield to challenge for more trophies.

Liverpool would hold out for £20m for the Slovakian and Man City would face competition for his signature, with Serie A champions Juventus and AC Milan also interested.

Martinez has a release clause of £25m in his Bilbao contract and would complement Yaya Toure and David Silva perfectly in providing balance in the Man City midfield.

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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.