Atletico set asking price for Man City target Demichelis

Manchester City have been told by Atletico Madrid that they will have to spend £4.26m to sign their Argentine defender Martin Demichelis, who has emerged as a target for Manuel Pellegrini, the Guardian has reported.

City are hoping to pay less, but may be forced to meet the Copa Del Rey winners’ asking price due to their lack of defensive options.

Joleon Lescott is the only fit central defender available to Pellegrini after captain Vincent Kompany sustained an injury during Monday’s 4-0 victory over Newcastle United. Kolo Toure was let go on a free transfer and moved to Liverpool this summer, while Matija Nastasic and Micah Richards were injured during pre-season.

The 32-year-old Demichelis has only been at Atletico Madrid for a little over a month and has yet to make his competitive debut, having arrived from Pellegrini’s former club Malaga, for whom he made 103 appearances and scored 10 goals.

Man City had been interested in signing Real Madrid’s Pepe, but Carlo Ancelotti’s side were unwilling to sell, leading to their pursuit of Demichelis. If the deal cannot be completed by the weekend, Pellegrini might be forced to start midfielder Javi Garcia in central defence for Sunday’s trip to Cardiff City.

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