Manchester City plan centre-back signing in January with a two-man shortlist – report

Manchester City will dip into the transfer market next month for a new centre-back after Vincent Kompany’s latest setback and John Stones’ lengthy injury, Sam Lee of Goal reports.

Pep Guardiola has convinced the City board to release the funds for a major defensive signing and has two preferred options to reinforce the centre of the backline.

The first is Iñigo Martinez of Real Sociedad, the 26-year-old Spain international who has been commonly linked in recent weeks. He has a €32million release clause and would appear to be the easier of the two to sign on paper.

However, it is Virgil van Dijk of Southampton who is Guardiola’s preferred option, and a more complicated one. The Saints star, 26, is Premier League proven and would command a huge fee, with Liverpool also very keen on signing him – and the Dutchman known to be excited at the idea of playing for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Another issue with Van Dijk is how he would respond to rotation and not playing as regularly as he does now. This would not be an issue with Martinez, but there are reservations on if he would be able to instantly adapt to Guardiola’s trophy-chasing side, particularly in the bigger games.

With pros and cons to both signings, City continue to weigh up their options and are expected to make enquiries regarding both in the next few weeks, heading into the January market.

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