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Man Utd and Man City both targeting similar centre-back reinforcements

Manchester City and Manchester United could be set to do battle in this summers transfer market, with a report suggesting they have both drawn up a similar list of targets for potential defensive reinforcements.

After winning the last two Premier League titles – picking up 198 points along the way – Man City have endured a disappointing defence of their crown, their 1-0 loss to Southampton at the weekend already their ninth of the season.

Having decided not to replace the departing Vincent Kompany last summer, Pep Guardiola’s defensive solidity was further hit by a long-term injury to key centre-back, Aymeric Laporte.

The Catalan seemingly has a lack of trust in John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, with Fernandinho having regularly been drafted in as a makeshift defender throughout the season while youngster Eric Garcia has been handed opportunities since the Premier League restart.

According to the Independent, the Citizens have made Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly a ‘top target’, though they also have eyes on Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar, the latter potentially as part of a swap deal with record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, a scenario which the report suggests ‘could prove more attractive’ if the clubs European ban is upheld and finances become more restricted.

However, the Independent claim that Manchester United are also eyeing up similar targets, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer currently ‘mulling over how best to use his budget’. Jadon Sancho is thought to the club’s number one target, though the emergence of Mason Greenwood could alter their priorities.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer was spotted telling Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake to ‘keep going’, admitting that the club ‘need a left-footed centre-back’.

Ake is a player who has also been linked with a move to Man City in recent weeks, though Chelsea also have a buy-back option of around £40m for the Dutchman as part of the deal that saw him join the Cherries three years ago.

Rio Ferdinand recently suggested that United should target a pacey central defender to play alongside Harry Maguire.

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