Rangers have been handed a potential boost in the battle to sign Kevin Mantilla with Independiente Sante Fe denying claims that the talented centre-half has agreed a move to Portuguese giants FC Porto. 

Now, you can see why a move to the Estadio da Luz would appeal to Colombia U20 international Kevin Mantilla.

Compatriots Mateus Uribe, Luis Diaz, Fredy Guardian and Radamel Falcao didn’t do too badly on the banks of the Mediterranean after all. And Kevin Mantilla, a towering centre-half who has already captained his club side at the age of just 19, could certainly do a lot worse than to follow in their footsteps. 

Photo by JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images

Reports emerged on Twitter this week, via Henry Jimenez, that Mantilla had reached an agreement over a summer move to Porto. But, in a boost to the teenager’s many other suitors, Independiente have wasted little time in issuing a retort.  

Mantilla may have his shoes on, but he’s not out the door just yet. 

Rangers reportedly like Colombia defender Kevin Mantilla

“Independiente Santa Fe informs the media, journalists, and fans,” reads an official statement.

“The club has received offers for several of its players. But, to date, no business has been finalised. If any transfer takes place, we will inform you through our official media.”

According to reports, Mantilla also has admirers at Rangers and Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp brought arguably Colombian’s most high-profile player – Luis Diaz – to Anfield just over a year ago. 

Sante Fe want around £2 million for Mantilla, writes South American reporter Pipe Sierra. Such a fee may not put off a Rangers side preparing for what Mick Beale describes as their ‘biggest rebuild’ in many a year. 

But, with Filip Helander out of contract, the Glasgow giants may prioritise a left-footed centre-half rather than a right-footer like Mantilla. Nottingham Forest’s Jonathan Panzo and Arsenal’s USA international Auston Trusty. 

Birmingham wanted to keep Trusty after a terrific loan spell this season. The 24-year-old confirmed this week, however, that his time at St Andrews is coming to an end.

“What a fantastic pro, a fantastic player,” Birmingham coach John Eustace told the Birmingham Mail. “He has been a great servant for us this season. 

“We are very fortunate to have good professionals here at the football club and Auston is certainly one of the them.

“He is very robust, he is an athlete, very fit, a top professional. I would love to keep him. I am sure there is a chance, definitely – but it’s out of my control. All I can say is I would love to keep him at the football club.”

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