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Man City target Schalke defensive ace in summer of change

| 20.04.2013

FA Cup finalists Manchester City’s squad could look very different by the inception of next season, as Roberto Mancini prepares to sanction a mass overhaul of his playing personnel this summer.

And particularly significant changes look likely to occur in City’s defensive ranks, with both Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott growing frustrated at a lack of first-team opportunities at the Etihad Stadium.

Thus, Mancini is willing to allow the duo to leave Manchester, provided he can seal adequate central defensive cover for first-choice pairing Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic.

And his search for the player to provide it is not in its infancy, with contact already made between City and Schalke regarding the availability of promising centre-half Kyriakos Papadopoulos.

The Bundesliga outfit have quoted the Citizens £17m for the 21-year-old Greek international, a fee which meets the buy-out clause of one of the world’s hottest defensive prospects.

In company with attacking midfielder Julian Draxler, Papadopoulos represents one of Schalke’s most prized assets, and whilst the Germans are reluctant to lose either player, they could have their hands tied in the matter.

Indeed, despite the pair being under contract at the Veltins Arena until 2016, both look likely to complete Premier League switches this summer, with Manchester United and Chelsea set to contest Draxler’s signature.

And though £17m seems a hefty fee for a player not guaranteed a starting berth, Papadopoulos’ considerable resale value is just one factor that has convinced City to step up their efforts to secure the defender’s services.

A priority addition, Papadopoulos appears likely to be one of the first in through the Etihad revolving door this summer, in what looks certain to be a busy close season in Manchester.

Expected to fend off interest from AC Milan and PSG for the 16-cap Greece star, City hope to snap up a right-back, left-back, holding midfielder and at least one winger after concluding their business with Schalke.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



John Klee