Manchester United plot move for £35m Manchester City target

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Manchester United are eyeing a summer swoop for Eliaquim Mangala despite the Frenchman's big price tag, according to reports from the Sunday People.

The aforementioned source suggests that the Red Devills will join the battle to sign the Porto defender during the next transfer window, even though the Primeira Liga outfit want £35 million in return for one of their most-prized assets.

22-year-old Mangala joined Porto from Belgian side Standard Liege in August 2011 and has impressively established a hugely positive reputation as one of European football's most highly-rated young talents during his subsequent three-year stay at Estadio do Dragao.

Such commanding form in the centre of Paulo Fonseca's defence has seen the France international - who won his first senior cap under Didier Deschamps during a 1-0 friendly loss to Uruguay last June - attract attention from across Europe.

Manchester United themselves have been linked with a potential switch for Mangala in recent months, with fierce local rivals Manchester City actually having reportedly failed with a late January move that would have seen Mangala and Porto teammate Fernando join Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City, who face Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday evening, have enjoyed a fine season to date and currently sit two points adrift of leaders Arsenal having played one games less than the Gunners.

However, despite such a rich vein of form, there are obvious concerns among fans about a lack of quality strength-in-depth in defence - a problem they are presumably keen for Mangala to solve.

Manchester United meanwhile, who lost to Stoke City in the league for the first time since 1984 on Saturday, are experiencing somewhat of a defensive crisis of late with injuries to Jonny Evans and Phil Jones during the match at the Britannia Stadium leaving manager David Moyes with no alternative than to move Michael Carrick to centre-back for the second half.

Mangala would obviously add strength in numbers, but £35 million seems an exorbitant sum for a player who is yet to test himself in one Europe's strongest divisions.

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