Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi is available for sale this summer, and former club Valencia appear to be in the strongest position to re-sign the Argentine centre-back.
Otamendi joined City from Valencia for around £30m in 2015 and was at his best during the club’s 2017/18 ‘Centurions’ season when he started 33 Premier League games and chipped in with a number of goals en route to the historic title win.
Otamendi fell out of favour soon afterwards as Aymeric Laporte emerged as City’s premier defender. He spent much of 2018/19 on the bench and failed to win back a regular place this season even after the departure of Vincent Kompany, who was not directly replaced.
This summer, Pep Guardiola is planning an overhaul to strengthen his back-line. The club has already spent £40m to sign Nathan Ake from Bournemouth and is still targeting a second new centre-back – Kalidou Kouliably, Milan Skriniar, Dayot Upamecano and Jonathan Tah have been on the radar.
90min has been informed that City have told both Otamendi and fellow out of favour centre-back John Stones they can each find new clubs ahead of next season - Stones is already on Chelsea's radar and City would want to recoup most of the £45m they spent on him in 2016.
Super Deportes writes that Valencia, having expressed interest in re-signing Otamendi a year ago, broached the subject again while City were in talks over their deal to sign winger Ferran Torres.
It is said that Valencia owner Peter Lim actually ruled out the possibility of accepting a player in part exchange for Torres, but the Spanish side still enquired about Otamendi’s availability.
The response from City director of football Txiki Begiristain is reported to have been a positive one, making it clear that Otamendi has a price. However, there is already rival interest and the player is believed to have other offers from La Liga clubs and a ‘very important one’ from Serie A.
For the moment, the 32-year-old has not made a decision about where he might be playing his football next season and beyond. But Valencia seem to hold a special place in his heart.
Otamendi wants to return to Valencia and Lim also want to make it happen. His price is lower than it was a year ago owing to his age and contract situation, although Valencia also have a smaller budget as a result of failing to qualify for the Champions League and the current global situation.
That being said, a potential deal is still described as not being ‘unviable’ for Valencia in terms of the finances, while Otamendi himself isn’t expected to be driven by money at this stage of his career and will focus more on the football project and club when choosing his next move.