Unusually for a Pep Guardiola side, Manchester City has had many issues with its defense this season, as £50 million signing John Stones has failed to impress and captain Vincent Kompany has been dealing with his usual injuries. As a result, City is looking to overhaul its roster over the summer. Although the club has mainly been linked to younger defenders, it has also been linked to a couple of experienced veterans.
According to the Express, City are interested in signing Real Madrid defender Pepe. Under Zinedine Zidane this season, the long-time Real center back has slowly been phased out, only playing 17 games and missing part of the season due to injury. Pepe was previously linked to a move to the Chinese Super League although that deal eventually fell through with sources saying that he prefers to stay in Europe.
The report also says that Pepe is only interested in signing with clubs that have qualified for the Champions League. At the moment, City is third in the Premier League and on track to make its usual appearance in Europe’s elite competition. Paris-Saint Germain and Turkish giants Galatasaray have also been connected with signing Pepe although PSG is currently battling with Monaco and Nice for Ligue 1’s automatic qualifying spots. Galatasaray are also battling for a Champions League spot as the former champions are currently third in the Super Lig.
Pepe has been at Real Madrid since 2007, signing from Porto for €30 million. Since then, he has played in over 300 matches for Los Blancos, forming a partnership with Sergio Ramos that has led the club to domestic and international glory. In his 10 seasons at the club, Real have won La Liga twice, two Champions Leagues and the Copa Del Rey twice. Internationally, Pepe was part of the Portugal side that won the 2016 European Championship.