As one of the richest clubs in the world, if not the richest, Manchester City will always be linked with big-money signings coming up to the transfer window.
In fairness, since Roberto Mancini took over, December 19, 2009 if you're interested, he has always splashed out during the transfer period.
Having spent some £269 million on just 23 players over the course of six transfer windows so far, it's fair to say that the club and Mancini will probably spend big again come January 2013, especially after being knocked out of the Champions League.
Here, Bleacher Report looks at the five biggest names to be linked with the Citizens and rates the likelihood of the possible transfer.
Read on and don't forget to leave your comments and suggestions in the section below.
Radamel Falcao is, seemingly, the name on everyone's lips at the moments.
The Atletico Madrid striker is one of the most wanted men on the planet and has been linked with countless clubs over the last number of years.
Since moving to Europe in 2009 from River Plate in Argentina, the striker has scored an amazing 121 goals in 147 games. The first 87 of those goals were with Porto before he joined Atletico at the start of the 2011 season for a cool €47 million.
The Sun then went one step further with this intriguing one-line article and quote from City's Chief Scout Carlo Cancellieri who said “If we were to take a player in January, we should take Falcao.”
So take from that what you may.
The transfer story then took a twist this week with The Mirror reporting that City had pulled out the deal for the striker. Even though Falcao reportedly has a £28 million buy-out clause in his contact, the deal is off on the basis that they have to sell Mario Balotelli first to raise the cash.
Incidentally, ESPN are reporting that the club want £40 million for the eccentric Italian striker while Mancini would be happy with just £20 million. PSG, Inter Milan and AC Milan are monitoring the situation and you can take it that they would be far happier with Mancini's valuation of the player.
The Mirror then goes one step further by explaining that the reason the Falcao deal is off for the moment is "City, are expected to once again announce big annual losses in the coming weeks, have committed themselves to meeting UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play Regulations."
In the end, the race for Falcao's signature could hinge on who the chasing clubs offer and who Diego Simeone, Atletico's manager, would like to take in part exchange—Fernando Torres or Mario Balotelli...
It is worth remembering though that Falcao's agent, Jorge Mendes, will probably have the final say on whether such a deal would go through. If a part exchange deal was made then both he and Falcao would stand to earn far less from a straight cash transfer.
Another striker linked with a big-money move to Manchester City is Liverpool's Luis Suarez.
From there, almost every single broadsheet and tabloid jumped on the story with their own variations of it.
Brendan Rodgers almost immediately and quite understandably rubbished the story by saying in a press conference that Suarez was going nowhere. "There will be no bidding war," he said before adding, "he's staying here."
"If we lost Luis then we've got no strikers. I don't think we can afford to lose anyone. He's certainly not someone we want to sell or move on."
The Italian manager said "It is not true, I don't know. For two weeks we talk about Monaco, after [Pep] Guardiola, after another manager, now Suarez. After that we sell Mario [Balotelli]."
"First of all we have a good team. We don't need to buy other players in January. Secondly, we can't buy Suarez at this time because we have four strikers."
He ended the interview by saying, "We don't need him."
The caveat in all this furore about Luis Suarez is Liverpool chairman Tom Werner's final words on the matter.
Werner stated categorically to the media he had no intention of selling the Uruguayan.
"Absolutely not, he said. "He's a beautiful player to watch and, as a Liverpool fan, I hope I'm watching him for many years to come."
"We made a long-term contract with him and we are going to see a lot of his play at Liverpool."
So there we have it. Three strong denials that Manchester City will not buy Luis Suarez in January.
However, in the past when chairmen and directors become involved in public debates or public negotiations if you will. It is generally with the double meaning that the original price quoted, some £40 million, is not enough and that a larger bid will have to be submitted before any business will be done.
Back in August Manchester City were heavily linked with a move for AS Roma's Danielle De Rossi.
The move was all set to go with the two clubs having agreed a £31 million transfer for the 29-year-old, with Nigel De Jong heading in the other direction.
At the time, Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini told The Daily Mail "If Daniele came to us saying that he wanted to leave, or is a club offered an amount we can't refuse, it should be considered."
In the end, De Rossi pulled the plug on the deal which would have netted him a nice £130,000 per week in favour of staying with his childhood team despite the two clubs having agreed the transfer fee.
He said to waiting reporters, "I'm staying here, I feel good here, and I never asked anyone to leave."
"What I promise everyone is the day I want to leave Roma to win the Champions League or make more money, I will say so in public."
Because of City's problems in centre-midfield, evident in their trials and tribulations in the Champions League, rumours of this deal have never really gone away.
On November 6, those rumours went into overdrive when Franco Baldini, Roma's General Manager, told Sky Italia that "Should an offer arrive for him [De Rossi], we will consider it."
Interestingly enough, Tottenham Hotspur have been tracking Franco Baldini as a potential General Manager since the start of the season only for Fabio Capello's ex-right-hand-man to rebuff their offers.
But I digress.
The following day after Baldini's statement Mark Ogden reported in The Telegraph that Mancini and City's new Sporting Director Txiki Begiristain had met with a view to outlining potential recruits with De Rossi at the head of that wanted pile.
Baldini reiterated Roma's desires to listen to all offers for De Rossi on November 11, despite the player being described as "untouchable."
However, on November 16 the General Manager then attempted to pour cold water on the speculation by saying his earlier statements were "misguided."
"We are not going to sell him and we have demonstrated this during the summer."
Reading between the lines it would appear that Roma would be more than happy to accept a bid from City for the 29-year-old. More so when you realise that Mancini and Beguristain are more than willing to pay in-excess of £25 million for the player.
Considering that De Rossi, one of the highest earners at Roma, is contracted to the club until 2017 selling him now would be of great advantage to Roma.
Both clubs seem to have met halfway.
De Rossi's agent, Sergio Berti also the agent of Manchester City's Aleksandar Kolarov, had already agreed a weekly wage of £130,000 during the summer so the only stumbling block in this potential deal is Daniele De Rossi.
At his age and with his wage demands not many Serie A clubs would be interested in signing him.
Roma are currently languishing in sixth, 12 points behind league leaders Juventus and out of the running for the title at this early stage.
It would seem apparent to all except perhaps De Rossi that this potential deal to City would represent his best route to both securing his families long-term financial future and his own quest for major trophies.
Watch this space.
Manchester City's problems in central midfield are well known. They struggle to dictate the tempo of games at the highest level. This stems from the lack of technical know-how from the likes of Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry and recent signings Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia.
All are accomplished players but they are most comfortable coming onto the ball rather than demanding it and then changing the direction of play. This is something both Daniele De Rossi and Busquets excel at.
As pointed out earlier, City have been tracking De Rossi for some time with a view to the Italian World Cup winner filling this role.
If that transfer does not come off it would appear that Barcelona's Sergio Busquets is Plan B.
The man who replaced Toure in Pep Guardiola's engine room has gone on to become one of the best and most underrated midfielders in the world. He is the very linchpin of the team in that everything that is good about Barca rotates around him and his intelligent movement—both on and off the ball.
On October 3, Italian transfer website TuttoMercato reported that Zenit St. Petersburg were considering a bid for the Spanish international.
However, to gain the signature of the €26 million-rated midfielder, who is out of contract in 2015 and has a whopping £129 million buy-out clause, they would have to battle past Manchester City.
The Mirror followed that initial story up on October 16 by intimating that City would be in a far better financial position than both Chelsea and Manchester United, who had recent bids rejected, to sign the player.
Two days later on October 18, the most significant move in this potential transfer happened when Sandro Rosell, Barcelona's President, blasted City for trying to destabilise Busquets.
"Manchester City want to remove our players and want to destabilise us," said Rosell. "It also happens with Arsenal, who come knocking for youth football players and offer them a lot of money.
"Now City have joined in. We are the enemy to beat.
"There are a lot of people who don't want us to win.
"But we must be calm—Busquets is another example like Messi, Valdes, Xavi, Puyol and the rest.
"We have great players and they are 100 per cent Barcelona."
If anything, Rosell's statement has poured more fuel on the fire, and just recently Busquets was asked about the potential deal.
His answer was hardly mana-from-heaven for his President.
Speaking before Spain's friendly with Panama on November 14, Busquets told reporters.
"I do not know if City has spoken to the club or my representative.
"At the moment, I am the same as you. I am living in the present and I'm very happy.
"I would hope to continue at [Barcelona] for many years but I like to live in the present; no-one knows what will happen in the future."
If the rumoured asking price of €26 million is accurate then City would be mad not to sign the 51-times-capped international.
At 24, he would represent a far better purchase than 29-year-old De Rossi at £31 million even though the two players have distinctly different styles.
The elephant in the room during all these rumours is that Busquets is out of contract in 2015 and that these stories may be public contract negotiations.
Be they player or manager, the most important free agent in the world of football at this very moment in time is none other than Pep Guardiola.
Since resigning as Barcelona coach at the end of last season, speculation linking Guardiola with a move to England has almost gone into overdrive.
Those rumours then went through the roof when Chelsea sensationally sacked Roberto Di Matteo just six months after the Italian led the club to Champions League triumph.
One theory is that the Blues, who were eliminated from the Champions League at the first hurdle, sacked Di Matteo so they could get the run on Manchester City for the signature of Guardiola.
Like their London-based counterparts, Manchester City have also, quite embarrassingly, been knocked out in the group stages of the Champions League.
That elimination is then further compounded by the fact that Roberto Mancini has spent £269 million since joining the club in December 2009.
Add in the fact that the club were also eliminated at the same stage of the competition last season, having spent more than one billion pounds since 2008, and you can easily see why the Citizens and AC Milan have also been linked with Guardiola.
There is no doubting that Guardiola, who brought an unprecedented 14 trophies in four seasons, including two Champions League wins, is a fantastic manager, hence all the speculation.
Guardiola’s agent Jose Maria Orobitg heightened that speculation on November 7 when he said;
"The doors are open for them [AC Milan], just like they are open for Manchester City, Chelsea and so on.
"Pep will listen to offers and then he will evaluate them.
"But so far we haven’t talked about Milan because Guardiola won’t be coaching until next season."
It is believed that Massimo Allegri, AC Milan's manager, is under all kinds of pressure after a poor start to the season, which has seen the Rossoneri plummet to 12th in Serie A.
The very fact that Orobtig name-checked Manchester City is significant because it shows that the Premier League champions are at the foremost in his thoughts.
For Roberto Mancini, it could be bad news.
Having overseen two embarrassing Champions League exits in a row it is little wonder that Guardiola has been linked with the club.
Those links, however, are not without foundation.
When Roberto Mancini began to wage his Rafael Benitez/Rick Parry style feud with Brian Marwood during the summer, little could he have known that he may have started the process to his eventual sacking.
As a result of the feud, the City board moved very quickly by moving Brian Marwood to one side as managing director of the club's football academy.
But, and most significantly, they then replaced him with a man of real football stature.
By giving Marwood's old role to Txiki Begiristain the City board have sent out a real message to Mancini—your job is in matters on the pitch.
The added incentive to Mancini to stay focused on on-field matters in Begiristain's past.
Before City, the ex-Spanish international was sporting director at Barcelona and worked in a daily basis and mentored the now out-of-work Pep Guardiola.
With the three aforementioned clubs linked with Guardiola, one must wonder why he would be interested in becoming the latest Chelsea or AC Milan manager over Manchester City?
The shadow lurking in the back during all these public negotiations are Barcelona.
The Spanish giants know that Guardiola is interested in City and would be mad not to be terrified at the prospect.
Pep and Begiristain both know the set-up at Barca intimately and with City's resources they would be in a position to poach players, a-la Arsenal, and then go about setting up a club in its image.
They could yet offer him a backstage stage role to stop that very prospect.
The other interested parties are, Chelsea who have gone through nine managers since 2004 and AC Milan have only gone through three in the same period and have very little money to spend.
Leaving City in pole position.
Since taking over in 2008, Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Abu Dhabi United Group have been more than patient with Mark Hughes and Roberto Mancini and have allowed them to spend vast amounts.
Given the choice between the three clubs which would you choose if you were Guardiola?