Manchester City are considering a bid for Cagliari defender Davide Astori, according to the Express. The report claims the former Premier League champions want the 26-year-old Italian as cover for the injured Matija Nastasic. The 20-year-old Serbian injured his ankle during a pre-season tournament in Asia and is unlikely to be fit for the start of the new season.
Astori made 31 appearances for the Serie A side last season and played a key role in Ivo Pulga's first team. The Italian club finished the season 11th, 15 points clear of the drop zone. The defender was also a part of Cesare Prandelli's national squad for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he scored the opening goal in Italy's 2-2 draw for third place.
According to the Express, City have already met the player's agent and are looking to fast-track the deal, with one eye on 19 August and the opening game of the 2013/14 Premier League campaign; Manuel Pellegrini makes his competitive debut at home against Newcastle United.
However, despite the riches at their command, the former English champions may have to move fast, with interest coming from both Southampton and cross-town rivals Manchester United.
The Mail Online believes the Saints are considering a £10m offer and that report also indicates interest from Cagliari's domestic rivals Napoli and Russian clubs Spartak Moscow.
However, with the Naples club having signed Spain international Raul Albiol earlier this month, from Real Madrid, it remains to be seen if Rafael Benitez will act on interest in Astori.
Meanwhile, an earlier report by the Express linked the Premier League champions to Astori. New boss David Moyes is believed to be more concerned about his midfield options but is also considering reinforcing his defensive live, particularly in the light of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic entering the latter halves of their respective careers.
Astori is contracted to Cagliari till 2015 and is primarily a centre-back, although he has played at right-back before.
Meanwhile, City slumped to a 2-1 defeat to German and European champions Bayern Munich on Thursday night. Pellegrini's men were outplayed by Pep Guardiola's team in the final of the Audi Cup, after having hammered AC Milan 5-3 in the semi-final. All three goals came in the second half of the pre-season tournament that also involved Brazilian club Sao Paulo.