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Manchester City will be without defender Matija Nastasic for the first month of the Premier League season due to an ankle injury.
The Serbia international sustained the injury in July’s Asia Trophy final win over Sunderland and is set for another four to six weeks on the sidelines.
In the 20-year-old’s absence, Joleon Lescott could be given the chance to partner Vincent Kompany in the heart of defence, although it is understood that boss Manuel Pellegrini is on the hunt for another centre-half.
The Etihad Stadium outfit have been linked with Real Madrid defender Pepe, who worked with Pellegrini during the Chilean’s time in charge at the Bernabeu.
Pepe fell out of favour at Real under Jose Mourinho last season due to the emergence of Raphael Varane, which has led to speculation over his future.
However, the Portugal international could yet be convinced to remain and fight for a starting role in Madrid under new manager Carlo Ancelotti and City may have to look elsewhere for defensive reinforcements.
There is more positive news for City regarding star striker Sergio Aguero. The Argentina international has been out of action since injuring his knee during a friendly against Chelsea in May but should return to training next week.
There is a good chance Aguero will be fit for City’s Premier League opener at home to Newcastle on August 19, although the club are well staffed in the striking department following the summer arrivals of Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic from Sevilla and Fiorentina respectively.