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Manchester City Transfer Rumours: 8 Big Names Linked to Summer Moves

Tony MabertContributor IApril 12, 2012

Manchester City Transfer Rumours: 8 Big Names Linked to Summer Moves

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    Having been Premier League leaders a little more than a month ago, Manchester City now find themselves five points Manchester United with as many matches of the campaign left to play.

    Even manager Roberto Mancini is claiming the title race is over, not that many would vouch for his sincerity in that statement.

    Given the resources at their disposal and the problems involving certain members of the squad - both off and on the field - it seems inevitable that City will be after a clutch if new names in the summer transfer window.

    A club desperate for success with plenty of money to spend is like manna from heaven for the tabloid rumourmongers. 

    Here are eight of the biggest names to have been linked with moves to the Etihad Stadium over the past couple of weeks.

Robin Van Persie

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    With Edin Dzeko's misfiring form, Mario Balotelli's one-man sideshow and uncertainty over the long-term future of Carlos Tevez, Manchester City will probably make signing a new striker a priority this summer.

    What with the club's penchant for signing players from Arsenal—four of the current squad were bought directly for the Gunners, if you include the on-loan Emmanuel Adebayor—and Robin van Persie's continued excellent form, it's no surprise to see the Dutchman continually linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium.

    However, The Times reported earlier this week that the Arsenal captain is set to snub a £200,000-a-week offer from City. That's the good news. The bad news, according to the same paper's report quoted here by Eurosport, is that Van Persie will also turn down an improved offer from Arsenal.

Luka Modric

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    Last summer, it was Chelsea who made a concerted and highly public effort to sign Luka Modric, but Tottenham dug in their heels and kept their man despite the Croatian stating his intention to leave.

    This time around, Chelsea will likely face competition from City if they want to made another bid for the playmaker.

    City manager Roberto Mancini was quoted in the Daily Telegraph a fortnight ago as admitting that he would love to have Modric in his squad, but prising him from Spurs' clutches was another matter. 

    He said:

    Luka Modric is an outstanding footballer, a great player. He is definitely one of the best in the Premier League. It is by no means easy to get him because he plays for a big club, Tottenham. It is unlikely that they would let him leave.

Hulk

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    Porto striker Hulk had a prohibitively high £83 million release clause inserted into his contract when he signed a new deal last year, meaning clubs like City are one of the few who could afford him.

    The Brazilian has reportedly been a target—even if City fans disagreed. When the two clubs met in the Europa League earlier this season, they chanted "You're not incredible" at him, much to Porto's annoyance.

    In any case, talkSPORT reported Hulk's agent, Teodoro Fonseca, as telling O Globo: "There has not been any contact (with City or Chelsea), we have not even been approached. Hulk is not even thinking about that."

Eden Hazard

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    One of the most sought-after youngsters in Europe ever since he helped Lille to last season's Ligue 1 title, Eden Hazard is set to leave the northern France club this summer.

    Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have previously been linked with the Belgian, but The Independent reports that City have now joined the race.

    With bags of talent, a £40 million price tag on his head and a liking for the odd prank, he certainly appears to fit the bill.

Javi Garcia

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    Another area to be earmarked by some pundits as in need of reinforcing at Manchester City is in the defensive midfield department. A little harsh on Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong, perhaps, but them's the breaks.

    Following their impressive run to the Champions League quarterfinals, which included two draws against Manchester United, Javi Garcia has been touted as a man who would fit the bill nicely, so The Guardian claims via a report in The Times.

    The 25-year-old former Real Madrid trainee can also fill in at centre-back when required. Most City fans would agree that he is a preferable option there to Stefan Savic.

Axel Witsel

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    According to the same report in The Times, again repeated by The Guardian, Roberto Mancini sent his assistant David Platt to Lisbon to scout Garcia.

    While he was there, Platt was also charged with the brief of casting an eye over attacking midfielder Axel Wtisel.

    The young Belgian, who can play in several roles across the midfield, may be difficult to sign, seeing as he only joined Benfica from Standard Liege last summer.

Gonzalo Higuain

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    Yet another striker to be linked with a move to Eastlands is Real Madrid marksman Gonzalo Higuain.

    The Argentina international has been impressive this season, scoring 20 goals in La Liga. That's three more than Karim Benzema, but half as many as Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Real manager Jose Mourinho has rubbished the rumours in typical style, with The Sun quoting him as saying: "If you want me to comment on false front covers then forget it."

    The Special One himself has been rumoured to be in talks with City over replacing Roberto Mancini, although he denies that is the case.

    "You (the press) want to destabilise the squad," he said.

Jose Mourinho

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    In addition to Higuain, Mourinho has had to publicly deny rumours of another Real Madrid employee swapping the Bernabeu for the Etihad Stadium: himself.

    With media pressure on Roberto Mancini's position inevitable now that City are unlikely to win the Premier League title, reports have surfaced that Mourinho has already agreed a deal to take over at the club this summer, just as he has done in the past ever when joining Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real.

    Mourinho, however, was emphatic in his denial. Sky Sports quote him as saying: "I deny that I or anyone on my behalf has reached an agreement with City. I have a contract and do not have to answer questions that have no foundation."

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