Long-term Manchester United target, or so said a raft of what proved to be enormously inaccurate reports, Nicolas Otamendi is believed to be on the verge of signing for Manchester City.
The deal reportedly hinges on Eliaquim Mangala agreeing to move to Valencia on loan for the season in exchange.
With the Frenchman one of three senior centre-backs on the Citizens books at present, augmenting the ranks is imperative if they are to reclaim the Premier League title at odds of 5/4.
Moving for an international-class defender who marshalled the Valencia backline to fourth-place in La Liga last term seems sensible on the surface, but relinquishing one of the three stoppers as part of the bargain is madness.
Mangala has started both of Man City’s games this season and performed admirably in a rearguard that is yet to concede a goal.
It follows a string of splendid showings to conclude the previous campaign, which saw the club win six matches on the spin, forming the foundation for their club record-equalling eight-game spoil-spearing streak.
The 24-year-old’s performances contrasted wildly from the erratic early days he endured at the heart of the City defence as he struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League following a £32m switch from Porto.
Having eventually acclimatised, few moves could be more bone-headed than to send Mangala out on loan.
He’ll have to get settled in another of Europe’s toughest leagues (his track record of struggling to do so suggests he’ll end up on the bench for large parts in Valencia) before returning to England a year later, where yet more readjusting will be required.
Similarly, there’s no guarantee Otamendi won’t suffer from the same adaptation ailments in the early stages of his Premier League career.
This will mean a recall for second-string stopper Martin Demichelis, whose age and penchant for occasional bouts of Benny Hill-inspired defending are sure to have a negative impact on City’s title prospects.