5 Italian Targets That Manchester City's Roberto Mancini Should Court
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With Italy having reached the final of Euro 2012, where they were roundly beaten by Spain 4-0, some of their players may have reminded the football world just how talented they are after a season of poorer than expected European performance and yet another scandal in the domestic league.
As a result, more than one or two of those players might be on the move during the summer transfer window—and where better to look than Manchester City?
Home of the Premier League trophy, with an Italian manager and seemingly limitless amounts of cash to splurge on transfers and wages; City could be an attractive destination to many a player this summer.
Here are five Italian players that Roberto Mancini should look at bringing to the Etihad Stadium this summer.
Federico Balzaretti, Left-Back
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Despite boasting Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov in their ranks at left-back, Roberto Mancini never really looked totally happy with his options for the full-back position last season.
Gareth Barry and Pablo Zabaleta both got game time there and the tactician switched his options regularly, without settling on an undisputed first choice for much more than half a dozen games.
At age 30, Federico Balzaretti still has plenty of top years ahead of him and is an aggressive and competent defender, who is nonetheless far more confident in attack.
Able to run for the whole game, possessing of a good cross and possibly available at a discounted transfer fee due to his contract having just a single year remaining on it, Balzaretti would be a solid addition to City's squad.
Daniele De Rossi, Central Midfield
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If Manchester City are after a statement signing, they could do worse than to look in the direction of Daniele De Rossi of Roma.
A strong, classy midfielder with plenty of bite, De Rossi has been a one-club man his whole career thus far and it would take a hefty bid—to both club and player—to release him from his long-term contract.
That said, City are certainly a club capable of coming up with the necessary funds to make the deal attractive to both parties.
De Rossi is usually a central midfielder which is an area City absolutely need to strengthen to fight on multiple fronts next season, though he has spent part of the last season playing in central defence, a role which he has excelled in.
Antonio Nocerino, Central Midfield
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If De Rossi is out of the question, Antonio Nocerino would be a great second choice for Manchester City.
Formerly deployed as a more reserved link-up midfielder with Juventus and Palermo, or even as a defensive one, at Milan he has rediscovered his original style of attacking midfield play in a different tactical system and flourished, finding the net 10 times in Serie A last season.
Nocerino has a great first touch, is a good passer of the ball and would dovetail well with the likes of Yaya Toure or be a good attacking foil for the more defensive Gareth Barry.
Having signed for Milan only a year ago he would still cost a fair amount of money for City to sign—but he has the undoubted quality to be a success in City's title-winning side.
Mattia Destro, Forward
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Siena's Mattia Destro made Italy's provisional squad for the European Championships in Poland/Ukraine, but was left out of the full team.
At 21 years of age, he is still one for the future, but has not yet made the breakthrough to the full Italian team.
Destro is a wanted man this summer, with Italy's top sides Inter Milan and Juventus both reportedly tracking him but a co-ownership agreement between Siena and Genoa may make any negotiations tricky for City this summer.
Destro scored a dozen times for Siena last season and ended the campaign as their top scorer.
Giuseppe Rossi, Forward
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Perhaps not an option for this summer, due to injury, but City would do well to come to an agreement with Giuseppe Rossi's club Villarreal about speaking to him first in January—possibly even agreeing on a fee to buy him as long as he proves his fitness.
Rossi's ability is not in doubt; he is a fine forward with skill, guile and good finishing attributes.
Two cruciate ligament injuries in the space of a year, however, may have really taken their toll.
Regardless, when Rossi does eventually return to fitness there is every chance he will be immediately off—Villarreal were relegated last season from Spain's top flight and the Italian international, who would certainly have been in the Euro 2012 squad were it not for his troublesome knees, will be in high demand in the winter transfer window.
Those who act now might just land themselves a bargain.