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Manchester City want to beat United to Espanyol's Aaron Martin - sources

Martin is one of the top young defenders in Europe.

Manchester City are interested in signing Espanyol left-back Aaron Martin after sending scouts to watch him in Monday's 1-0 win over Real Betis, sources close to City have told ESPN FC.

Martin played the full 90 minutes and City boss Pep Guardiola is ready to make a move to sign him in January as he wants to bring in a left-back to replace the injured Benjamin Mendy.

Mendy is set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious cruciate knee ligament injury and Guardiola has been forced to play midfielder Fabian Delph in a left-back role in the Frenchman's absence.

The City boss has admitted he may be forced into the transfer market when the window reopens in January and sources said that Martin has emerged as his top target after watching him in action on several occasions in the last few weeks.

Last month, sources told ESPN FC that Manchester United had an interest in Martin, but City are now ready to beat their rivals to the 22-year-old's signature.

Martin is regarded as one of the best young full-backs in Europe after catching the eye at Espanyol since breaking into the first team last October.

He was handed a new contract until 2020 soon after making his Espanyol debut, is a Spanish under-21 international and has also represented the Catalonia senior team.

Peter O'Rourke is ESPN FC's transfer news correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @SportsPeteO.

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