Football

Pep Guardiola still has defensive concerns .

Manchester City identify alternative target after missing out on Virgil van Dijk

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Talk about a statement of intent - Liverpool have kicked off the January transfer window in style with the signing of Virgil van Dijk.

The centre-back was in demand throughout the summer and as expected, he has opted for a £75million switch to Anfield.

The Reds were thought to be vying with Manchester City for his services, with the Liverpool Echo suggesting they were keen to get the deal wrapped up before the league-leaders could hijack it.

It goes without saying that with the financial muscle of Sheikh Mansour behind them, the champions-elect could have won a bidding war had it commenced in the New Year.

However, now that the Dutchman is officially a Liverpool player, Pep Guardiola has been tasked with finding alternative targets.

While money is obviously no object, they may well have identified a much cheaper option and it could cost them just £30m.

The Telegraph report that City are planning to step up their interest in West Brom's Jonny Evans, despite the Baggies' reluctance to sell him in the summer.

According to the newspaper, Van Dijk was ruled out because he was too expensive and the club insisted they would not pay Southampton more than £60m.

Defensive worries 

Guardiola remains a little light in the centre of the defence, with Vincent Kompany recently having suffered his 39th injury in his time at the Etihad.

The Belgian already seems to be looking to the future after graduating from the Manchester Business School, but it does raise the question of who is going to accompany John Stones - who is also currently sidelined - in the future.

West Bromwich Albion v Everton - Premier League

Northern Irish international Evans has attracted interest from Arsenal and Everton, so it's far from certain that City will be able to get their hands on him either, given that they've already missed out on Van Dijk.

The 29-year-old only has one year left on his contract, presenting Alan Pardew with a problem.

Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez is another option being looked at, as he has a £28million release clause which means the La Liga outfit would be powerless to stop him going.

Would Evans be a good signing for Manchester City? Have your say in the comments. 

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