Pep Guardiola is set to go head to head with rival Jose Mourinho in a battle for AS Monaco right-back Fabinho.
According to reports in The Sun, Guardiola is keen to recruit top quality full backs in the next transfer window, and has identified Fabinho as one of four such players that he wants to bring in.
The Brazilian right-back has emerged as one of the best right-backs in world football over the past couple of seasons, and has been heavily linked with a move away from France.
Jose Mourinho identified the 22-year-old as one of his prime targets on his arrival at Manchester United this summer, but the deal collapsed due to the club’s failure to sell Matteo Darmian. The Italian has fallen out of favour at Old Trafford, and has seen his place in the side taken over by Antonio Valencia.
Having failed to convince Mourinho of his abilities, Darmian has been linked with a switch back to his native Italy, with Inter Milan showing interest. Mourinho, meanwhile, is still looking to strengthen his options, and is determined to land Fabinho.
Guardiola, on the other hand, is in desperate need of options in the full back position. With all four of his available full-backs – Aleksandar Kolarov, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, and Pablo Zabaleta – at the age of 30 and above, Guardiola is looking for young blood to re-energise an ageing City defence.
City’s struggles at the back have been evident this season, and the Citizens have managed just three clean sheets so far – against Steaua Bucharest, Borussia Moenchengladbach, and Bournemouth.
Having conceded an incredible ten goals in their last four games, City’s suspect defence may be a massive hindrance in their title bid this season. As a result, Guardiola is looking to shore up things at the back, and is prepared to fight for Fabinho’s signature.
Only last month, Fabinho signed a new five-year contract with Monaco that would keep him at the club till at least 2021. However, Monaco are reportedly willing to listen to offers, and will sell at the right price.