Manchester City have been told they must pay €5m (£4.26m) for Martín Demichelis, as Manuel Pellegrini focuses on the Atlético Madrid central defender now that the pursuit of Pepe has ended because Real Madrid are not willing to sell the Portuguese.
Yet with Atlético placing that price on Demichelis despite him being 32 and having signed just a one-year deal when arriving as a free agent from Málaga earlier this summer, City are keen to pay less. It is thought their valuation is closer to €3m, though the club may find their bargaining position compromised. Vincent Kompany is set to be out for a month because of a groin injury, which would mean missing three league matches; on Thursday the City captain will discover the results of a scan .
With Micah Richards being out for around a month because of a hamstring problem and Matija Nastasic only returning to full training on Wednesday morning following an ankle problem, Pellegrini has Joleon Lescott as his one match-fit senior central defender.
While Demichelis worked under Pellegrini for two seasons at Málaga, if the manager decides not to risk Nastasic for Sunday's trip to Cardiff City he could choose to press either Gareth Barry or Javi García into emergency service alongside Lescott.
Yaya Touré, who scored in City's emphatic 4-0 win against Newcastle United on Monday evening at the Etihad Stadium, believes the side can continue to improve under Pellegrini. "This year we want to do the job," the Ivorian said. "We want to work hard, keep it going, make it as difficult as possible for our opponents and try to be better and stronger. It's important for me and the club. I know how much everyone desires success and that our fans only want to see one Manchester club profit this season."
Touré scored from a set piece at Newcastle and said: "I have been practising my free-kicks for four years now. But I think I got lucky on this occasion. The shot was perfect, so I am very happy. I hope I can continue to score important goals for the team and I think this year is going to be a good one for us."
Gaël Clichy hopes that City can prove as impressive when performing away from the Etihad. "We did work hard during the whole pre-season and that is what the manager wants from us," said the left‑back.
"Away from home it will be more difficult but it is a good way of starting the season. We are going to play like this from today to the last game."
Of Fernandinho, City's £27m summer signing, who made an impressive league debut alongside Touré in central midfield, Clichy added: "He is a Brazilian but he has been in Europe for eight years. He played at Shakhtar [Donetsk] which is a great team that plays good football."