Pep Guardiola has made finding in central defensive partner for John Stones a transfer priority this summer.
And Italian international Leonardo Bonucci fits the profile of the player he believes will bring the best out of his £47.5m signing.
Despite Vincent Kompany’s triumphant return for Manchester City against Chelsea this week, Guardiola still plans to target a world class centre back at the end of the season.
While Stones is the ball-playing defender he believes it is vital to his system at the Etihad, he acknowledges the England international needs a rugged partner to give balance to City’s rear-guard.
Guardiola tried and failed to sign Bonucci in his first transfer window at the club, with Juventus ruling out any chance of a move for the 29-year-old.
But City might fancy their chances 12 months on – particularly after the player’s public fall-out with Coach Max Allegri this season.
“The defender has to be rougher and tough,” he said. “You cannot compete with strikers like (Romelu) Lukaku, (Zlatan) Ibrahmivoiic, and (Douglas) Costa.
“You have to be like that. We are looking for not just that, there have to be qualities of a player, for us it’s so important.”