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Manchester City to set to sign a centre-back in January - sources

With reports emerging that Man City will make a push for a centre-back in January, Craig Burley assesses who would fit best.
While Ian Darke believes Man City are in a league of their own this season, he also points out that they have a ways to go before they're considered the best ever.

Manchester City are set to go back into the transfer market in January with a centre-back a top priority, sources have told ESPN FC.

Pep Guardiola is concerned that he does not have enough depth in his squad in that position, particularly with concerns over the fitness reliability of captain Vincent Kompany.

City were close to completing a deal for West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans in August and could return with a fresh bid for the Northern Ireland international, ESPN FC has been told.

Real Sociedad centre back Inigo Martinez has also been watched by City scouts while reports suggest they could be interested in Southampton's Netherlands international Virgil van Dijk. 

Despite being 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League, Guardiola wants to strengthen his squad if they are to try to compete for the Champions League. Evans, Martinez and Van Dijk would all be eligible to play in the knockout stages, which start in February.

West Brom defender Jonny Evans is among the potential options for Manchester City.

Former Manchester United defender Evans, who turns 30 in January, would qualify as a homegrown player, although as City only have 18 players currently named in their 25-man senior squad they would not have to sell a player to make room anyway.

City were close to a deal in August but West Brom wanted a reported £30million for the centre back.

However, since then West Brom have been plunged into a relegation battle and have replaced manager Tony Pulis with Alan Pardew, who may consider taking the cash to reinvest in other areas of his squad and has said he fears losing the player.

"We are thinking about it -- in that department we have few, few, few players, and of course to handle all competitions we are in trouble, real trouble, but I can't assure you anything," Guardiola told a news conference before the game at Swansea City.

"With Txiki [Begiristain] we're going to see what will happen in January."

City are likely to be without both John Stones and Kompany for Saturday's game against Tottenham Hotspur.

Stones is recovering from a hamstring injury and hopes to be back around the start of the New Year while Kompany has been dogged by persistent muscle problems.

Eliaquim Mangala will deputise but there are concerns over him, particularly after they tried to sell him in the summer.

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.

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