After sending scouts to Portugal to run their eyes over Porto defensive pair Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi both Manchester United and Manchester City are considering making a £65m play for the highly regarded defenders.
United are currently eighth in the Premier League and can be backed at 8/1 for the title while their local rivals have leaped to favouritism at 2/1 after hammering Norwich City 7-0.
Both City and United need to boost their defensive options
Slowly but surely Red Devils boss David Moyes is putting his personal stamp on the way United play but one area that needs strengthening is at centre-half.
Both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are the wrong side of 30 and although Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are progressing, both England internationals are unlikely to develop into world-class defenders.
Meanwhile, City’s first choice centre-back partnership Matija Nastasic and Vincent Kompany have rarely played this season due to various injury problems and away from home performances have suffered with City uncharacteristically conceding nine goals in their five matches on the road.
Mangala’s athleticism and power would be perfectly suited to the rigours of the Premier League
The 22-year-old highly rated French defender starred in his first full season as a regular at the Estadio do Dragao, leading a Porto defence that only conceded a 14 goals in the league and has continued that strong form into this season, where Porto are unbeaten and top of the Primeira Liga.
Valued around the £38m mark, he is excellent in the air and when he is caught out position, which is a rarity, his electric pace gets him out of trouble.
Otamendi possesses the winning mentality needed to play for a European giant
Since joining Porto in 2010, the Argentine international, who is comparable with City full-back Pablo Zabaleta in terms of his no holds barred style of play, has enjoyed huge domestic and European success with the Portuguese giants.
He has shone at the heart of a defence that delivered three Primeira Liga tiles, three Portuguese Super Cup’s and a memorable Europa League success under now Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas Boas in 2011, where they beat Braga 1-0 in the final.