Manchester City respond to Real Madrid’s £80m asking price for Mateo Kovacic – report

Manchester City are unwilling to meet Real Madrid’s asking price for midfielder Mateo Kovacic, which is reportedly £80million, according to Sky Sports News.

The 24-year-old is thought to top Pep Guardiola’s list of alternatives to Jorginho, who has joined Chelsea after City’s summer-long pursuit ended in disappointment, but Kovacic would cost far more than the Italy international.

City consider £80million for Kovacic, by no means a guaranteed starter at the Champions League winners, to be too much despite his talents, and will not pursue him at that price.

Southampton’s Mario Lemina is another possible alternative who would undoubtedly cost less, but with Guardiola and his players due to fly to America on Tuesday for pre-season fixtures, it is not certain if the Blues will make any more major signings after landing Riyad Mahrez for a club-record £60million recently.

City have lost Yaya Touré this summer and have been scouting not only a replacement for him, but a successor and rotation option for 33-year-old Fernandinho. If no further signings are made, Ilkay Gündogan may be deployed more often in a deeper role, while Fabian Delph could be an option in his original position.

The Premier League champions have also snapped up Claudio Gomes, one of France’s most promising teenage midfielders, and depending on his current level, he could be another option for Pep.

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