Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Man City blow Man Utd away for clever Serie A coup, as fears grow Guardiola favourite needs replacing

Lazio goalkeeper Christos Mandas

A Lazio goalkeeper could be heading to Manchester this summer and more specifically the Etihad

Manchester City are growing increasingly fearful a trusted star will leave this summer and various reports suggest his replacement will be a Serie A star also on Manchester United’s radar.

Among the unsung heroes at Man City this season is back-up goalkeeper Stefan Ortega. The German has racked up 17 appearances including seven in the Premier League and hasn’t put a foot wrong when deputising for Ederson.

Ortega, 31, is out of contract at the Etihad at the end of the 2024/25 season. As such, the onus is on Man City to forge an agreement on a contract extension this summer. Failure to do so would leave the club at risk of losing a dependable star for nothing.

However, Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg previously revealed Ortega is trending towards leaving Man City, much to Pep Guardiola’s dismay.

“I would love him to stay, the club would love him to,” Guardiola previously said of Ortega. “We let him feel [this], but we would love it.

“It’s [down to] him, everyone has their own lives, wives, kids, desires. I think he’s really happy here, but I could understand perfectly [if he wanted to leave]. He’s more than 30 years old and he wants to play every weekend so honestly I don’t know.”

Explaining why Ortega is in line to leave, Sky Germany and the Daily Mail listed three reasons between them.

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Why Ortega could leave

Firstly, Ortega wishes to become a regular starter once again and while Ederson is in situ, that cannot happen at Man City.

Furthermore, Ortega and City are understood to have reached an impasse over the level of salary rise he’d receive in a new deal.

Finally, Ortega himself has admitted the decision to leave City could be taken for family reasons with his second child on the way.

Per a fresh update from the Manchester Evening News, the fact a contract offer is on the table and continues to go unsigned is a key indicator Ortega doesn’t intend to stay.

Man City will require a replacement for Ortega if he does depart. According to Corriere dello Sport, City – along with Man Utd – have shown interest in Lazio’s Christos Mandas.

Man Utd signed two new keepers last summer in the form of Andre Onana and Altay Bayindir. With that in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise to learn the Italian outlet described City’s interest as by far the more serious of the two.

What’s more, fresh comments made by Mandas’ agent have hinted at Man City making moves behind the scenes.

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Mandas agent hints at pay rise or exit

Speaking to Sky Italia, Mandas’ agent, Diego Tavano, said: “We need to sit down and talk to Lazio about reviewing the contract, because it was all done very quickly and with the idea that he was the third choice goalkeeper.

“Now he is second choice, but has already proved he can stand in for [Ivan] Provedel. We will certainly need to discuss it. There is also interest from abroad and we’ll talk about it to the club.

“I don’t think that President Claudio Lotito will hold back for the renewal and might even propose an extension of the contract for a talent who was signed at a very accessible price.”

As Tavano stated, Mandas, 22, was initially brought to Lazio last summer to be their third-choice stopper.

However, opportunities in the eleven quickly arose and Mandas has impressed. Indeed, Mandas has started the last seven Serie A matches for Lazio, keeping three clean sheets along the way.

According to Forbes, the Greek is on tiny wages at Lazio by top level footballing standards. Given he was signed to be back-up to the back-up, he takes home less than £4,000-a-week.

Man City would easily be able to quadruple or quintuple Mandas’ wages and still net themselves a huge saving on what Ortega is demanding to re-sign.

Furthermore, Mandas’ agent was keen to highlight his client’s attributes that would make him an ideal buy for Guardiola’s side.

“He is very reactive as a goalkeeper, sees this sport as an obsession and wants to become one of the best in the world,” continued Tavano.

“He is also good with his feet and gets involved in playing out from the back. Lazio must be thanked for giving him this opportunity and he is responding well.”

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