Manchester City could be set to pip rivals Manchester United and Chelsea to the signing of Kurt Zouma, with reports suggesting that the Citizens have already held initial talks over a potential move for the French defender.
According to Goal.com, City see the 19-year-old Saint-Etienne centre-back as potential remedy for their recent defensive failures and are optimistic of securing his signature for a fee of approximately £10 million after preliminary discussions.
France U21 international Zouma - who was recently handed a rather harsh 10-match ban for an ill-advised challenge that left Sochaux midfielder Thomas Guerbert nursing a broken leg - appears to have been in considerable demand of late, with Manchester City having been strongly linked to his signature alongside rivals Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Manchester City would appear to be most in need of Zouma's powerful talents, with the club having struggled in a defensive capacity of late with the duo of Martin Demichelis - a summer arrival from Malaga - and youngster Matija Nastasic forming an unconvincing partnership in the absence of captain Vincent Kompany.
Local foes Manchester United, meanwhile, have nursed defensive problems of their own during a difficult opening to the 2013/14 campaign. While previously reliable captain Nemanja Vidic has struggled for form and fitness, doubts have also persisted over the quality of both Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling.
Phil Jones has impressed when deployed by new manager David Moyes in his preferred centre-back role, but such occasions have been all too rare.
Whether Manchester United will be encouraged to hold talks of their own for Zouma, remains to be seen. A fee of £10 million, you would have thought, would seem to be well within their price range.