Barcelona enter race for Man City & Man Utd target Mangala

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Barcelona have entered the race for Porto defender Equalim Mangala with a view of bringing him in as a replacement for captain Carles Puyol according to Sport.

The Porto ace has been heavily linked with numerous clubs over the past few months, and was close to a Premier League switch in January.

Manchester City were the team reportedly close to luring the 23-year-old along with his team-mate Fernando but fell just short before the window snapped shut.

Veteran defender Martin Demichelis, bought in by Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini in the summer, has come in for criticism this season thanks to some errant displays, and the Chilean manager is likely to bring in a replacement at the end of the season.

Manchester United meanwhile have also been linked with the talented youngster, and are expected to be in the market for a new centre-back with Nemanja Vidic and possibly Rio Ferdinand heading towards the Old Trafford exit.

However both clubs may miss out to Barcelona, who also have their troubles at the back.

Skipper Carles Puyol has been struggling badly with injury for some time now and has made just 60 league appearances over the last four seasons.

Barcelona tried and failed to land a new centre-back last summer, and have been forced to deploy midfielder Javier Mascherano at the back on a regular basis.

With the 35-year-old likely to call it a day at the end of the current campaign, Barcelona have drawn up a five-man shortlist - at the head of which is Mangala.

According to Spanish newspaper Sport, the Manchester United and Manchester City target is joined on the list by Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Bilbao, Matteo Musacchio of Villarreal, AZ Alkmaar's Jeffrey Gouweleew and Dynamo Kiev ace Aleksandar Dragovic.

Sport also claim that Barcelona have a secondary list, on which is reported Arsenal target Fabian Schar.

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