Malaga director general Vicente Casado says Manchester City will have to spend 20 million euros if they want to sign goalkeeper Willy Caballero this winter.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini is reportedly keen to bring in his former Malaga charge Caballero, 32, as doubts continue over Joe Hart’s form and the long-term suitability of Costel Pantilimon for a first-team spot.
Hart was dropped recently after a string of high-profile errors for club and country, with Pantilimon coming in for the Capital One Cup game at Newcastle. The Romanian has since kept his place for Premier League games against Norwich City and Sunderland, and the Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow, but lacks experience at the top level.
This has only heightened speculation that Pellegrini will move in the coming transfer window for Argentine keeper Caballero, who starred in Malaga’s Champions League run last season, but Casado told Cadena Ser that Malaga were in no mood to sell on the cheap.
“He will not leave [in the winter] unless someone pays his release clause [worth 20 million euros] and he is in agreement,” he said. “At the moment we are focused on building the squad.”
The arrival of Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun, 33, who is currently a free agent after leaving Chelsea when his contract expired last summer, could be part of that building process, although Casado refused to be drawn on any names.
“We are looking at the market and seeing what the possibilities are,” he said. “There will be at least one reinforcement, and from there we will see if there are any more. There is not much room for many signings.”
He also backed coach Bernd Schuster, despite his side’s recent slide in form that has left them just one point above the drop zone after one win in their last seven games.
“We continue to back the coach 100 percent,” Casado said. “We have made a bet on him and we must learn to be patient and know that this can be turned around with Schuster.”
Casado played down speculation that some Malaga players were unhappy with Schuster’s methods, saying there had been more dressing-room disquiet even as Pellegrini led the side to the Champions League quarterfinals last season.
“Last year there were more players who did not believe in the coach than this season,” he said. “There were people who came to complain about the coach. Each year there are problems with those who do not play.”