Matija Nastasic has picked up a nasty injury in the Far East…
Manchester City could target Real Madrid’s Pepe after 20-year-old Serbian defender Matija Nastasic has picked up a potentially nasty injury, reports BBC Sport.
The young Serb picked up an ankle knock in Manchester City’s Barclays Asia Trophy final win over Sunderland on Saturday.
The sodden pitch was criticised by many, and it could well have played a part in the defender’s injury.
New manager Manuel Pellegrini however refused to blame the conditions:
“It is part of the game and could have happened on any pitch,” said the Chilean boss.
“We are concerned but it is better to wait. He received a kick to his ankle and the doctor is seeing what it could be, but it is impossible for him to know. The doctor needs to see him when we arrive in Manchester and then we can know what has happened.”
The injury could be a major blow to the start of City’s Premier League plans. Nastasic won a starting place alongside club captain Vincent Kompany last term, ousting England international Joleon Lescott in the process. His calmness on the ball and ability to play it out from the back was admired by many pundits, and the centre-half is destined to become one of the leading defenders in the country.
Nastasic joined the club from Fiorentina for £13m plus Stefan Savic, last summer, but his injury could mean Pellegrini steps up his efforts to sign Real Madrid’s Portuguese hard man Pepe.
The 30-year-old centre-back will cost around £15m, according to The Express, and will take City’s spending to around £105m for the summer.
Pellegrini was eager to be respectful to Pepe’s club Real Madrid however, the club where he managed the centre-half between 2009 and 2010.
“I don’t speak about rumours. And I’m not talking about specific names because it’s better for us not too. So I don’t talk about Pepe or any other names,” Pellegrini told a press conference after his side’s Asia trophy victory.
The Chilean has already stamped his mark on the side this transfer window, bringing in Spanish pair Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo, and spending a whopping £30m on Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho.
The addition of Pepe would make City look formidable on paper, and more than make up for the cruel injury blow Nastasic has suffered.