Real Madrid are reportedly pondering a summer swoop for Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi, to replace Pepe.
The 33-year-old has been strongly linked with a move to the Chinese Super League and according to a report in TYC Sports, Real Madrid could make an offer for the Argentine center-back in the summer transfer window should Pepe leave at the end of the current campaign.
In November it was reported that contract negotiations between the club and the player had reached an impasse. The issue was that Los Blancos were only willing to offer a one-year contract extension, whilst the player wants his contract renewed for another 2 seasons.
Pepe, who is currently in his 10th season with the club was first linked with a move to China in December. Hebei China Fortune FC, who are being managed by Manuel Pellegrini, were reportedly willing to offer €10 million in annual wages, more than double of his current earnings.
It was rumoured that in light of this move, Real Madrid were also planning to recall youngster Jesus Vallejo from his loan spell at Eintracht Frankfurt and be made second choice to Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane in the summer.
Nicolas Otamendi, since making his move to the Etihad in the summer of 2015 in a move reported to be worth around £28.5 million, has become a mainstay in their starting XI. He has made 49 appearances in the first season and was pivotal to their Champions League semi-final run.
Manchester City are struggling in the English top flight this term and needless to say, Pep’s first season hasn’t gone according to plan. After a bright start, the Citizens suffered some shock defeats against the likes of Spurs, Everton and Leicester City.
But they have managed to make up some ground and they now sit at second place, 8 points behind league leaders Chelsea. A lot of City’s troubles this season have been attributed to the below par performances of their defensive unit.
Guardiola has constantly tried to rotate his defence in order to find the best possible solution and while Otamendi has featured in most of those games alongside John Stones in the heart of the City defence and while his future doesn’t seem to be in doubt for now, it is City would likely consider bids for the Argentinian, should the fee be sufficient.
Otamendi’s familiarity with Spanish football from his time at Valencia would make him a great fit at the club and at 29, he would be a short term option for the club as they look to incorporate youngsters like Varane and Vallejo and also aid their transition into the first team in the next couple of seasons.