Man City set to beat Man Utd to £85m defender

Manchester City are prepared to flex their financial muscle to beat rivals United to Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar.

Quadruple hopefuls City are ready to smash their transfer record to sign the 24-year-old Slovakia international for £85.5m, according to reports in Italy.

Pep Guardiola’s City, like bitter rivals Manchester United, need to bolster their defence, with centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolás Otamendi possibly nearing the end of their Etihad Stadium careers.

Kompany, 32, has still to agree a one-year extension to his contract while Otamendi, 31, has struggled to hold down a starting place this season.

And Skriniar has been identified as their top target, reports Italian outlet Calciomercato .

Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar would cost around £85.5m

Both City and United reportedly tried to snap up the centre-half last summer. Calciomercato claims Jose Mourinho tried to sign him for Manchester United, while the player’s agent says City also had a bid rejected.

Mital Halis told Spanish publication AS : “Inter Milan paid Sampdoria €28m (£24m) for Skriniar and six months later, Manchester City came in with an offer of €55m (£46m).

“Now he is valued at around €100m (£87m).”

That would trump City’s previous record shell-out – the £68.4m they paid Wolfsburg for star man Kevin de Bruyne in 2015.

Manchester United have been linked with a £65m swoop for Harry Maguire

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in the hunt for world-class centre-backs this summer and United have been linked with a £65m swoop for Leicester City’s Harry Maguire, plus Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly , Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane and long-time target Toby Alderweireld, as well as Skriniar.

The Manchester clubs will face competition for Skriniar, with La Liga giants Real Madrid interested in taking him to the Bernabeu.

Calciomercato reports that Real Madrid are also interested in keen on the Slovakian as well as Koulibaly, who could cost as much as 150m euros (£128m).

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