Manchester City are looking to rebuild this summer in order to win back the Premier League crown, and reportedly believe that Paul Pogba can help them do just that. However, with the French midfielder in demand across Europe, City face a stiff competition to land their target.
In case they were to lose out to the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the race for Pogba's signature, the Manchester club are also considering Bayer Laverkusen and Germany midfielder Lars Bender as an cheaper alternative according to reports.
The 26-year-old German international could be a perfect signing for the Premier League runners up. Although not as much of a threat as Pogba, he would offer stability in the middle of the park which Manchester City will need next season.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini may want the potential deal to happen as quickly and as swiftly as possible due to reports linking Yaya Toure to Italian giants Inter Milan. The 2013-14 champions will also be without James Milner after he joined Premier League rivals Liverpool.
Bender, who has nineteen caps for Germany, is currently available for around £25 million and Manchester City need to react quickly, as arch rival Manchester United have also shown their interest in signing the player. United are also in the race to sign Pogba.
The two rival clubs have same target for next campaign - to win the league title - and beating United to sign either Pogba or Bender would be a early step towards toward domestic success.
With Manchester City recognised as one of the wealthiest football clubs in the world, they can push any rival to the limits for a player's signature. Their financial strength can still lure Pogba to the Etihad as his current club may let the former United player depart if the Citizens offer a big sum of money.
However, the the Financial Fair Play rules can prevent a transfer, this is also the case for both Real and Barcelona.