6 of the best: Manchester City's summer transfer targets
With some semblance of pride restored after victory over United at Old Trafford, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will be keen to press ahead with plans to significantly strengthen his squad when the summer transfer window re-opens. Having consistently stated his objections to last summer’s policy of recruiting squad players from below the very top-tier of footballing talent and consequently backed up by his side’s dismal displays in Europe and failure even to mount any serious challenge to the Premier League title, it would be of little surprise to see significant investment in playing talent come the end of the season.
With Financial Fair Play just around the corner, any investment will have to come on the back of a weighty effort to reduce an already swollen wage bill, with Mancini keen to show up to 12 players the exit at the Etihad.
Wayne Bridge will finally be shown the door when his £88,000 a week contract finally expires at the end of the season and Roque Santa Cruz and Kolo Toure should also be cleaned from the books by the same method. Alongside these three, Mancini would seem more than willing to accept offers on any or all of, Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott – all of whom are coming into the final year of their contracts. Samir Nasri, Aleksandar Kolarov, Maicon and Scott Sinclair – who have failed to impress on a consistent basis and Edin Džeko, who if reports are to be believed will be returning to Germany as a replacement for Dortmund’s transfer-bound Robert Lewandowski.
With Mario Balotelli having already moved on to Milan in January, this potentially leaves a huge hole in City’s squad for next season, one which Mancini will want to fill having learned the lessons of last year. Subsequently, it is highly possible that we may see up to six high-profile players at the baggage carousel at Manchester airport. Mancini no doubt feels that the season has shown City need strengthening all over the pitch, but two central defenders, two forwards and two midfielders seem like a priority.
Edinson Cavani – Napoli
Much of City’s decline this term has been the failure of Mancini attack to recapture its title-winning form. Sergio Aguero remains one of the world’s very best attacking talents, but through injury, lack of form and the weight of responsibility, he has failed to hit the scintillating heights of his debut Premiership season. Cavani has been linked with the Manchester club in the past two transfer windows and his performances this season for Napoli – scoring 29 times in all competition, will do little to dampen Mancini’s interest. City may have a fight with Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSG for the Uruguayan’s signature, but the Manchester club will certainly have the financial muscle to compete.
Stevan Joveti? - Fiorentina
Despite reportedly having already signed a pre-contract deal with Arsenal, Mancini would do well to look to sign the Montenegrin if Arsenal fails to reach the Champions League, scuppering any potential deal. With the ability to play any role in the forward line, Joveti? would offer a potential replacement, of similar style for Carlos Tevez, with the ability to lead the line as a single striker or offer a creative threat from a deeper position. Fiorentina are obviously keen to hang on to their star, but if he does become available Mancini will surely be fighting Arsenal and Juventus for his signature.
Isco – Malaga
City’s over reliance on David Silva for creativity has been found out this season and the manager will surely be keen to add to this department. Isco has been in magnificent form during his clubs push towards the Champions League quarter-finals this year, but with Malaga currently in a fight for fourth place, a failure to qualify for next season’s tournament would likely see Isco looking to exit the club. Barcelona and Real Madrid have already been touted as possible destinations for the young Spanish starlet, but Mancini should compete for his signature should he become available.
Daniele De Rossi - Roma
Mancini’s admiration of De Rossi is no secret, having spent most of last summer trying to capture the Italian. De Rossi’s ability to drop into a sweeper role would be ideal if Mancini continues with the three at the back experiment next season and even if the Man City boss does away with this tactic, capturing De Rossi would add one of the world’s most dynamic midfielders to his squad.
Daniel Agger – Liverpool
Liverpool’s failure to qualify for the Champions League again will mean Mancini may turn his attentions back to the big Dane this summer. Matija Nastasi? has had a decent first season and will no doubt become a top-class defender, but his inexperience has been exposed at times. City were denied with a £22 million pound bid last year, but an offer of around the same amount might yet tempt the Anfield club into selling.
Andrea Ranocchia – Inter
After a slow start to his career at the San Siro, the 24-year-old has been outstanding this season in a relatively dismal year for the Milan club. Not yet in the top bracket of defenders, Ranocchia, like Nastasic last season, could offer a long-term option at the back for City.