Manchester City are closing in on deals to sign Porto pair Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando for a combined fee of £41 million.

City, who maintained their Premier Leaguetitle challenge yesterday with a 4-1 win over Southampton, attempted to acquire both players at the end of the January transfer window but the deals could not be completed in time. However, City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, is understood to have continued the negotiations.

The deal to sign Mangala, a rangy 23-year-old central defender who is a France international, is the most progressed, with sources in Portugal claiming yesterday that the fee could be as high as £29 million.

With Joleon Lescott out of contract and leaving this summer, and Martin Demichelis, at 33, signed as a stop-gap, City are keen to strengthen the centre of defence to provide competition for Matija Nastasic as a regular partner to captain Vincent Kompany.

Mangala has been strongly linked to Chelsea in the past but their acquisition of Kurt Zouma for £12.5 million on January deadline day, before loaning him back to St Etienne, was an acknowledgement that they were looking elsewhere.