Real Madrid's Portuguese centre-back Pepe has been targeted by new Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini for his Eastlands project.
The Chilean manager is a huge admirer of Pepe's fighting spirit and has been urging the City hierarchy to move in for the defender.
With Pellegrini supposedly making Pepe's signing an absolute priority for his project, City have been trying to negotiate a deal with Madrid for the defender but have seen their initial £15million bid rejected by the Madrid board.
New Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti is also said to favour keeping Pepe in the Spanish capital and Madrid president Florentino Perez is said to have personally called the defender to assure him of his importance to the club and reiterate that he is not up for sale.
In spite of the odds against them however, City are willing to make a last-ditch effort to sign the 30-year-old defender with a £20million bid in the next few days.
Another factor working against City’s interest is that with the imminent departure of Raul Albiol to Napoli, selling Pepe to the Blues would leave Los Blancos with only three central defenders in Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and youngster Nacho.
This would result in Madrid having to go out in search for a defender straight away and they know it will be very difficult to get a better defender than the 30-year-old at £20million in the present market.
Meanwhile though, in spite of City’s interest in Pepe, the Blues have decided to offer Joleon Lescott a new one-year deal.
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