From Italy: Serie A icon ‘very popular’ with Pep Guardiola and could move to England

Manchester City have been linked with Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti in the past day – but does Pep Guardiola want or need a new centre-back?

The instinctive answer is ‘no’, but after the performances of his defenders in the last two games, against two of the few teams who have put City under any pressure recently, six goals have been conceded. New boy Aymeric Laporte has yet to really be given a chance to bed in, with veterans Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi often starting of late.

From Italy comes an intriguing prospect should Guardiola decide to dip into the market for another central defender.

According to Premium Sport HD, AC Milan may have to sell players in the summer with the near certainty that they will again miss out on Champions League football.

Goalkeeping prodigy Gianluigi Donnarumma is one player who may go, but another who could be made available is former Man City target Leonardo Bonucci, the 30-year-old captain of Milan who controversially moved from Juventus last year.

Photo: Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Italy international Bonucci hasn’t been at his best since switching to the red-and-black of Milan, but has had his moments and remains a top quality defender with a skill set that Guardiola has publicly praised in the past.

And according to Premium Sport HD, Bonucci remains ‘very popular’ with Pep and could become a candidate to reinforce the Manchester City defence come the summer. The Italian TV channel believes a move to the Premier League is very possible for Bonucci.

Bonucci joined Milan for what was considered at the time a bargain fee of €42million, and City could probably expect to pay similar or less than that, if Milan feel the need to sell in the knowledge that UEFA’s millions won’t be filling their coffers next season.

For now it is a suggestion, but if Guardiola wants a new source of steel and experience at the back, the man he once described as one of his “favourite ever players”, Leonardo Bonucci, could be an option.

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