Eliaquim Mangala, Manchester City’s No1 summer transfer target, would prefer a move to Manchester United, though Louis van Gaal is not prioritising the Porto central defender because of reservations over his temperament.

The Holland coach, who will take charge when their World Cup campaign ends, is an admirer of Mangala but is unsure if the 23-year-old has yet to fully mature.

While Van Gaal needs to replace the departed centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as he seeks to rebuild his United squad this summer, the France defender is not among his prime choices, with the 62-year-old instead targeting Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels.

Manuel Pellegrini, the City manager, does not have any doubts and is keen to bring Mangala, who would cost around £35m, to the Etihad Stadium to partner Vincent Kompany next season though the champions, having previously been confident of signing Mangala, are now conscious it could be difficult.

The Frenchman, who is part of Didier Deschamps’ squad at the World Cup, would rather play for United – or Chelsea, as he has previously stated – with Mangala having told friends he believes each club is of a greater status to City.