Manchester City are prepared to pay top price for Real Madrid defender Pepe.

The Mirror says City manager Manuel Pellegrini is a big admirer of the talented but controversial centre-half, whom he managed during his time at Real.

Last season, Pepe was branded an "idiot" by Wayne Rooney on Twitter after being captured on TV stamping on the hand of Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

Deposed Premier League champions City believe the 30-year-old Portugal international would form a formidable centre-half partnership with their skipper, Vincent Kompany.

City are prepared to pay a big transfer fee - said to be around £20million - and the huge wages it would cost to bring the defender to Eastlands.