Rafa Benitez reportedly met with Manchester City Director of Football, Txiki Begiristain, to discuss two possible summer transfer earlier this month – the two players in question were Brazilian midfielder Fernando and Eliaquim Mangala, the French defender.
As always, Manchester City have more players than they know what to do with and both these alleged Newcastle targets were signed in summer 2014 well before Pep Guardiola took over.
French international Mangala is now 26 and has spent this season on loan at Valencia where he made 30 La Liga starts, the team ending up 12th in the table.
He cost around £35m three years ago when arriving from Porto and whilst any fee would be well below that figure, it would have still been a massive amount for a Spanish club relying on the relatively meagre TV deal for most La Liga clubs – with no Champions League cash to fund any potential signings.
Mangala made 47 Premier League starts in his first two years at Man City and will be hoping to make a return to the French national squad ahead of the World Cup in Russia. He was a squad member at the 2016 Euro Finals, making one sub appearance in the 5-2 win over Iceland, but has only featured on the bench for France once (November 2016) since then.
Plaza Deportiva, a Valencia based media organisation, have today given an update on the situation.
They say that their information is that Valencia club officials travelled to Manchester on Friday to meet the World’s allegedly richest agent, Jorge Mendes.
As well as looking after the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese ‘super agent’ is also responsible for 10 of the players who turned out for Valencia this past season, including Eliaquim Mangala.
Plaza Deportiva report that the primary reason for travelling to Manchester was to find out the situation regarding Mangala but that the news was not positive.
They say that Valencia made clear to Manchester City that they wanted the central defender but that City are aiming for 20m euros (approx £17m) and that is well above what the La Liga club could afford. With the news from the Etihad that allegedly Newcastle have already offered £13m for Mangala.
Even that amount is said to be difficult for Valencia to match, so Newcastle allegedly in pole position.
Whilst no transfers can formally go through until the transfer window officially opens in July, there does appear to be a fair amount of negotiating going on in the meantime, including of course Christian Atsu agreeing a permanent move to Newcastle.
Whether Newcastle United have a serious interest in Eliaquim Mangala, or any others of the host of players Manchester City will be ditching this summer, remains to be seen.
As does making sense of the host of transfer stories that are appearing every day…