Manchester City have reportedly identified Real Madrid star Marcos Llorente as a target, should they fail in their pursuit of Atletico Madrid’s Rodri.
As per a report from the Manchester Evening News, Premier League champions Manchester City are eyeing Real Madrid academy graduate Marcos Llorente as a potential alternative for fellow Spaniard and Atletico Madrid star Rodri as they look to boost their midfield options ahead of the next season.
After a scintillating 2018-19 season that ended with them completing a historic domestic treble, Manchester City are planning ahead for the upcoming campaign. Manager Pep Guardiola’s biggest concern heading into the summer window is signing a new central midfielder as they seek a long-term replacement for Fernandinho.
The Brazilian is 34 years old and had a number of injury problems throughout the season. While Ilkay Gundogan did a solid job in Fernandinho’s absence, the German’s future at the club is uncertain, with his contract set to expire next summer, leading to the English champions prioritising a new midfielder.
Manchester City have their eyes set on Atletico Madrid mainstay Rodri. The 22-year-old has emerged as one of the most solid defensive midfielders in Spain and arguably across Europe since his return to Atleti from Villarreal last summer. He has also become a regular fixture in the Spanish national team, since making his debut for La Roja back in March last year.
The progress that Rodri has made in the past year or so has seen him garner a lot of admirers across Europe, most notably Manchester City. The 22-year-old has a €70 million release clause at Atletico but Manchester City are hopeful of negotiating a lower fee for him.
However, should that not be possible, the Cityzens have identified Real Madrid’s Marcos Llorente as an alternative for the Atletico Madrid man. The 24-year-old, a graduate of the Real Madrid academy, has been used as a rotation option for Casemiro since the 2017-18 term, and could be on his way out of the club this summer.
Llorente featured 16 times over the course of the 2018-19 season, with injuries playing a part in his reduced role in the first-team. However, he started just three matches since Zinedine Zidane’s return as manager in March, casting doubts over his future at the club.
Arsenal were reported to be interested in signing the former Spain Under-21 international in the summer and now Manchester City are also monitoring him and would launch a move for him, should their pursuit of primary transfer target Rodri fail.
Along with Llorente, the Premier League champions are also keeping an eye on Olympique Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele, although he would not exactly be a like-for-like replacement. Ndombele though, is one of the most wanted commodities in the transfer market, with City’s rivals Manchester United also interested, along with Champions League runners-up Tottenham Hotspur.
Manchester City are intent on bringing in a new defensive midfielder this summer as they look to put a succession plan in place for Fernandinho. It remains to be seen if they will get their hands of Rodri or they will be forced to pursue Llorente’s signing instead.