Manchester City’s smooth preparation for the new season has hit the rocks as it was confirmed that imposing defender Matija Nastasic could face six weeks on the side-lines.
The Serbia international was carried off on a stretcher during the pre-season win over Sunderland in Hong Kong last month after sustaining an ankle injury.
The loss of Nastasic will be a big blow to City after the 20-year-old defender impressed during his debut season with the club, making 25 appearances.
While new City boss Manuel Pellegrini has the option of pairing club captain Vincent Kompany with Joleon Lescott or Dedryck Boyata, the loss may tempt him into the transfer market again.
City have strengthened their midfield and attacking options significantly this summer, splashing close to £100million on Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo.
However, the 2012 Premier League champions have not bolstered their back-line; a decision Pellegrini may have to remedy in the next few weeks.
Reports are linking City with a shock move for out of favour Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel and there are persistent rumours of a swoop for Real Madrid’s Pepe.
A move for Skrtel could be a reasonably priced solution to their problem, although they will have to fend off interest from the Slovakian’s former coach, Rafa Benitez, who is believed to be extremely keen to bring him to Napoli.
City face Newcastle in their opening Premier League game of the season on August 19 and will be hoping that their defensive problems are resolved by then.
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