Manchester giants in battle for Nicolas Otamendi
It seemed as if Manchester United's interest in signing Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi was merely paper talk - but Spanish reports are now claiming that the Old Trafford club are battling it out with local foes Manchester City to sign the Argentine defender.
Sky Sports reported on Thursday that United had no interest in launching a €40m bid for Otamendi, with the Old Trafford club clearly keen to dampen down rumours that they are chasing another defender after failed moves for Mats Hummels and Sergio Ramos this season.
Yet sources close to the player and Valencia are giving very different briefings to the Spanish media, with Marca are claiming that Otamendi is on his way to the Premier League.
Spanish journalist Guillem Balague is also convinced United are keen to sign Otamendi, after suggesting that Valencia are considering bids from both Manchester clubs for the 27-year-old centre-back.
Otamendi's omission from Valencia's pre-season game this week fuelled the rumours that he could be on his way out of the club, with the lack of quality defenders available in this transfer window making him a prized catch for any potential suitor.
While the Spanish side will be keen for one of their key men to remain at the club for next week's Champions League play-off game against Monaco, Otamendi would still be eligible to play for another club in the group stages of the competition even if he took to the field next Wednesday.
Either the Spanish or the English media packs are being misled on United interest in Otamendi, but all will be revealed ahead of the closure of the transfer window at 6pm on September 1st.