Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has set his sights on wantaway Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam to bolster his side's defence, as Benjamin Mendy looks set to face a prolonged spell on the sidelines, according to Algerian news outlet Le Buteur.
The 26-year-old's current deal at the Stadio San Paolo expires at the end of this season and it does not look likely that it will be extended, with the defender keen to force a move away from Naples next summer.
This means that the Algeria international will be free to speak to clubs of his choosing in January, and orchestrate a free transfer for the end of this term.
However, Guardiola is willing swoop in before then and capture Ghoulam this winter, with the Spaniard now desperately short at the back due to recent-singing Mendy's knee issue which will keep the Frenchman out for an expected seven months.
The 46-year-old manager used midfielder Fabian Delph to fill the role of left-back during Manchester City's 1-0 Premier League win over Chelsea on Saturday evening, but it is unlikely the Spaniard will want to continue playing his middle-of-the-park ball-winner so far out of position for the foreseeable future.
The report suggests that because of this the ex-Barcelona man will not wait until his £50m signing returns, but instead will opt for recruiting another left-sided defender in January.
Ghoulam would certainly fit the bill for Guardiola's needs, however the north west club will have competition in securing the Saint-Etienne academy graduate.
Both Chelsea and Atletico Madrid are keeping tabs on the 26-year-old, but would prefer to capitalise on the Algerian's free-agent status in the summer, rather than spending anything.
The European elite pairing are reportedly readying a £5m salary pay packet for the Napoli-man, double the new deal tabled by the Light Blues, however may not get the chance to discuss the terms if Manchester City are able to coax the left-back to the Etihad Stadium in the meantime.