FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala is keen to reject interest from Manchester City in order to complete a big-money move to Chelsea. The French defender reportedly had his heart set on a move to Manchester United, but Louis van Gaal wants to sign a centre-back with more experience.
This is according to the Telegraph, who claim Mangala wants to join a club who have had previous success in Europe. Chelsea, having won both the Champions League and Europa League over the last two years, are subsequently the 23-year-old’s first choice.
Mangala, who is valued at £35 million, has established his status as one of Europe’s best young central defenders since joining Porto from Standard Liege in 2011. He has been included in France’s World Cup squad and could secure a move to the Premier League after this summer’s showpiece international tournament, which gets underway on Thursday.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho - who has already struck deals for Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa and, according to reports, Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas - may regard Mangala as a potential long-term replacement for club captain John Terry, who has signed a one-year contract extension but could leave Stamford Bridge at the end of next season.
The Blues have agreed to sell versatile centre-back David Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain, so there is room for Mangala if Mourinho wants him. However, the Portuguese coach has been strongly linked with a move for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, who Mourinho regards as being the best young defender on the planet.
Manchester City, meanwhile, will turn their attention to AS Roma defender Mehdi Benatia if they miss out on Mangala. The Morocco international could cost the Citizens up to £50 million.