Manchester City may step up their search for a central defender if scans prove Matija Nastasic’s ankle injury is more serious than feared.
He will be examined by doctors in Manchester on Monday but might miss the start of the Premier League season.
And that would mean City have only two senior centre-backs, which could force manager Manuel Pellegrini, who was already considering whether to bolster his defence, back into the transfer market.
The Chilean said on Friday that, despite spending around £90 million on Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic, his summer business is not yet complete.
He was interested in Real Madrid’s Pepe, though City have accepted that a deal for the Portuguese is unlikely unless he asks to leave or the Spanish club choose to sell.
But after Kolo Toure was allowed to leave the Etihad Stadium when his contract expired, captain Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott are the only out-and-out central defenders at Pellegrini’s disposal.
The versatile Micah Richards is seen more as a right-back and the departure of Maicon, who has joined Roma, means City have lost one alternative to Pablo Zabaleta in that position.