Manchester City Transfer Speculation: 5 Biggest Needs for Mancini in January

Thomas Atzenhoffer@socceratzCorrespondent IIOctober 19, 2012

Manchester City Transfer Speculation: 5 Biggest Needs for Mancini in January

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    Manchester City have made a solid start to the first season in their history as defending English Premier League title holders. Under Roberto Mancini, the team has truly managed to solidify a place among the elite clubs in English football.

    However, let us not forget that the Citizens did not exactly run away with the title last season; they more or less ran out of the race like a kid that just snatched his mother's last Christmas cookie from the plate before he had to share.

    There are still several areas in which the club could improve in the coming transfer window.

    Let's take a look at where Mancini could do some good come January.

Sell Mario Balotelli

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    The club needs to make a decision and either sell Mario Balotelli or stop claiming he is not what they want at Manchester City.

    He has been nothing but trouble for the majority of his career in sky blue, and despite his obvious talent, the baggage he brings along with it is way too much.

Buy a Solid Stand-in for Yaya Toure

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    Yaya Toure will spend the majority of the winter months away at the African Nations Cup with the Ivory Coast national team.

    During that time, Roberto Mancini will only have Gareth Barry to stand in, but Barry has never been the offensive threat that Toure is.

    Likewise, young Jack Rodwell is in the same boat. He lacks the dynamic abilities of Toure.

    Mancini needs to invest in a player of Rodwell's age that can be the heir to Toure's throne and eventually replace him, as Rodwell looks set up to do so for Barry.

Buy a Central Defender

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    There is no question that the strongest pairing at the club is that of Belgian international Vincent Kompany and English international Joleon Lescott.

    Around those two primary starters is a group that is still not truly sure of its heirarchy.

    Kolo Toure continues to age out of his prime and looks a partially forgotten part of the squad at times.

    New arrival Matija Nastasic still has much to learn at the age of 19, as does his likely future partner in the middle, 17-year-old Karim Rekik.

    The club could do with a solid central defender in his mid-20s to be the stopgap between age and youthful exuberance. If the club looked within the club, they could convert Micah Richards into a center-back as he gets older.

    However, knowing City, a nicely priced new signing is likely their preferred option.

Move a Full-Back

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    Speaking of defenders, Manchester City currently employ perhaps the best accompaniment of full-backs in the league as a whole.

    Gael Clichy, Micah Richards, Maicon, Aleksandar Kolarov and Pablo Zabaleta are all top class.

    Equally, they are a bit overstaffed and could benefit from freeing up some salary room by moving one of their assets.

Stop Wasting Young Talent

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    The club made a step in the right direction by signing talented 20-year-old attacker John Guidetti to a new contract, according to ESPN.

    However, the same cannot be said with the signing or Scott Sinclair.

    Swansea's golden winger has been nothing more than a bit-part player at City after leaving the Welsh club, and looks like another waste of a young winger at the hands of the Citizens.