Manchester City are looking elsewhere for a left-back option.

That was the latest to emerge from the North West regaring Marc Cucurella.

Of course they are. Clubs are on the lookout for talent globally all the time.

The interesting thing is why that information was allowed to escape.

Is it because City are incredibly open and want fans to know exactly what they up to?

It might be. That would be very commendable.

Was it a way of saving face having realised they were not going to get Cucurella?

Or was it because they wanted to force Albion to let him go?

That a carefully leaked indication they are pursuing other targets would suddenly make their counterparts in Sussex do a U-turn and rush to accept whatever was on offer from the Etihad?

It isn’t the first of those reasons. It might be the second.

If it’s the last, then it is flawed policy - for various reasons.

One, that Albion have been looking to keep, not sell.

Two, that Albion hold the aces here given Cucurella has a long-term contract.

And, three, the Seagulls know exactly who is out there when it comes to left-backs, both in their own market and in City’s.

At which point it should be noted I always hesitate to type “left-back” when it comes to Cucurella.

He is so much more than that, impressing at wing-back and on the left of a back three.

Chelsea appeared to have noted that as word started to emerge of their apparently strong interest yesterday.

As well they might. It was at Stamford Bridge that Cucurella first operated on the left of a three.

But it is as a left-back in a back four where Albion would most miss him if he left.

That is where they would have fewest alternatives within the current group.

Albion will know who else is out there for City to pursue because they will also be looking closely at left-backs themselves.

Not necessarily because they expect Cucurella to go now, although we are only big offer away from that happening.

And not necessarily from City.

More likely, it was starting to appear yesterday, from Chelsea.

As with City, it’s not as if the Stamford Bridge outfit could not afford him.

It’s whether they want to afford him.

Evn if Cucurella stays this time, there will be more interest and other bids in the next window or two.

Assuming he maintains his excellent form and consistency, of course, which is absolutely key to all this.

If he stays, there is an argument Albion could still do with a signing in that area.

Even if is to future-proof themselves for a Cucurella departure later.

Get the replacement in before the man himself goes.

They may have hoped at that some stages that a future solution lay in house.

But it won’t be Alex Cochrane, the former under-23s skipper and left wing-back who has moved on to Hearts.

Nor will it be Michal Karbownik, who might have been eyed as a potential future first team wing-back or full-back when brought in from Legia Warsaw but has never quite made an impact and now wishes to play in midfield.

Albion have been speculatively linked with Alex Moreno at Betis, who is very similar to Cucurella in style and coming off a fantastic season.

We have been advised there is nothing in that.

At which point we can all play amateur talent-spotter and see who is out there to replace, succeed or complement Cucurella.

Actually, it was a professional talent-spotter who told me he would go for Javi Galan at Celta, although he is relatively old at 27.

But you do not have to shop in Spanish markets.

So City say they are looking elsewhere.

As often at this time of year, when given information, you have to ask yourself two questions.

Is it true? And, why are you telling us this?

Sometimes that second question is more important than the first.

This was one of those occasions, when it was reported City were looking elsewhere.

But Chelsea might render it all irrelevant.