Man City want River Plate defender Lucas Martinez Quarta in swap transfer with fellow Argentine Nicolas Otamendi – The Sun

MANCHESTER CITY are keen on River Plate defender Lucas Martinez Quarta – and could use fellow Argentine Nicolas Otamendi as part of a swap deal, according to reports.

Pep Guardiola is understood to be a fan of the centre-back and could make a move to land him when the transfer market reopens.

Reports in Argentina suggest River Plate would be open to the idea of selling Quarta, 23, if the right offer comes in – although there are suggestions he has a £19million release clause in his contract which runs until 2021.

The defender has made 64 appearances for the first team since breaking through from the youth set-up and making his debut in 2016.

He won the Copa Libertadores in 2018 and earned his first cap for Argentina last September.

Quarta played the full 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Chile and almost ensured it was an even better day – but his thumping header with five minutes to go crashed off the crossbar.

Guardiola needs to bring in an extra defender as soon as possible.

The club did not replace Vincent Kompany last summer, Aymeric Laporte has struggled with long-term injuries while John Stones and Otamendi have often failed to impress, leaving Fernandinho to fill in in the back line.

But City face plenty of competition to secure Quarta's signature, especially if they cannot offer Champions League football next season due to their Uefa ban.

Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Valencia as well as Italian sides Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus have all been linked with the rising star.

And Quarta's agent is well aware of the interest in his client and the difficulty River Plate have in trying to hold on to him.

He's one of the players that River have to sell.

Gustavo Goni told TNT Sports: "Until the quarantine, Chino had many lovers, there were many clubs that had come to see him.

"I think there will be interested sides again when the picture is clearer. The idea is to agree with River an opportunity for everyone, hopefully the best possible offer will come out.

"In case that doesn't happen, we will have to get together and see what is most beneficial for everyone.

"But today we're imagining, it's a matter of waiting. He's one of the players that River have to sell."

Manchester City could steal a march on their rivals, though, by offering Otamendi as part of any deal to sign Quarta.

The fellow Argentine defender, 32, still has two years left on his contract at the Etihad.

But despite making 15 Premier League starts this season, he is likely to slip further down the pecking order in the summer.

Buenos Aires-born Otamendi, who joined City from Valencia in 2015, is a River Plate fan and is "dying" to end his career with the club, even posing for a photo outside the stadium.

His agent said in February: "Nicolas’ desire is to retire in River, he is dying to play there.

"He is well at [Manchester City], he is playing more than last year. But if River calls him and convinces him…in June it may happen.

"No leader has called me, they still have not made a move. Nicolas is not going to offer, he has to get the call from Gallardo. But one call would change everything."

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