Eliaquim Mangala has revealed he would snub a move to Manchester City if Chelsea offer him the chance of a switch to London.
Manuel Pellegrini is eager to bolster his back four ahead of next season, as he looks to build on a fine debut season in England during which he won the Premier League title and the League Cup. The Chilean coach knows his defence is his priority for improvement, with an imposing figure wanted to sit alongside Vincent Kompany.
Indeed, this is an area the City coach identified back in January, when he tried to lure Mangala from Porto. At the time the Etihad Stadium club were unable to agree a fee for his signature before the transfer window slammed shut, since when they have planned to return with a solid bid for the France international in the summer.
Pellegrini would have hoped that the prospect of playing for the best team in the country would have been enough for Mangala to push for the transfer, but it appears as though the £35million-rated defender has set his sights elsewhere. Speaking the BeIN, the 6ft 2in centre-half has revealed he would prefer a move to the capital and Chelsea.
“Manchester City or Chelsea? Chelsea because it is London,” Mangala said. “It is true that I love the Premier League because it is a spectacular championship. In January, there were discussions with Manchester City, but it fell through because the two clubs could not reach an agreement. Every player wants to play in the biggest clubs. I am an ambitious player and the team that can help me win titles is the one that interests me.”
Whether Jose Mourinho will answer Mangala’s request remains to be seen. The Portuguese coach already has a solid pairing of Gary Cahill and John Terry, but although the latter has recently signed a new one-year contract, he will turn 34-years-old later this year. The Stamford Bridge club also paid £12million for Kurt Zouma, the French Under-21 international, in January before loaning him back to Saint Etienne.
Pellegrini, meanwhile, is set to offload a number of players from his first team squad over the course of the coming weeks. This number includes at least four English players, with Micah Richards, Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell being tipped to follow Joleon Lescott out of the door. The champions will, though, hope to prevent a fifth homegrown player from leaving, namely James Milner who has reportedly asked for a transfer.
The former Aston Villa midfielder is a popular figure at the Etihad Stadium both with his colleagues and the supporters, but he has grown frustrated at his lack of first team starts. Milner has just 12 months left on his contract, and Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are all thought to be interested in signing the 28-year-old.