The defensive crisis that saw midfielder Javi Garcia used at centre-back in half of Manchester City’s Premier League games so far seems to have abated, but coach Manuel Pellegrini is set to bolster his back-line with a swoop for Cape Verde international Pecks in January.
First-choice centre-back partnership Matija Nastasic and Vincent Kompany could line up next to each other for the first time in the league since the beginning of May, which will be a boost to City’s chances of victory at odds of 6/5 in this weekend’s derby clash with Manchester Utd.
Neither were available for the Citizens’ woeful defensive display in the 3-2 defeat at Cardiff, with makeshift pairing Garcia and Joleon Lescott failing to provide enough protection in front of keeper Joe Hart.
Martin Demichelis picked up an injury before he could make his debut at centre-half after a move from Atletico Madrid at the end of the summer.
Micah Richards – who normally plays at right-back, but can cover in the centre – has also missed the season’s start with a hamstring strain, prompting Pellegrini to plot a swoop for Pecks once the transfer window reopens.
Pecks, or Pericles Santos Pereira to give him his full title, is a 20-year-old stopper who has already made his international debut for Cape Verde, a small island off the coast of West Africa.
His powerful, aggressive defensive displays have seen comparisons made with City captain Kompany and he has attracted interest from some of the biggest clubs in the Premier League after breaking into the Gil Vicente team last season.
Tottenham and Newcastle have both been credited with an interest and have sent scouts to Portugal, but City struck an alliance with the Primeira Liga side last year and that partnership has put them in pole position to land the player’s signature.
A £5m transfer fee has been mooted, which could prove a bargain in this football financial climate if Pecks can deliver on his undoubted early promise