Manchester City are an easy target to fill the transfer gossip pages of print and Internet thanks to their hoards of top-class players, willingness to spend money and the ground they have to make up on Premier League leaders Manchester United—but even so, the latest collection of stories make interesting reading.
City won last season's title with almost the last kick of the campaign and it was always going to be difficult for them to follow that up with a second victory, but they have been decidedly off-colour in several fixtures this season.
Manager Roberto Mancini has had almost as much work to do with his squad off the field as on it at times, and it could well be he is looking for reinforcements this month with some of his summer transfers not quite up to scratch.
Here are the latest rumours of Manchester City's possible transfers, incoming and outgoing.
The Daily Mail start with a whopping £45 million deal on the cards for City to bring lethal striker Edinson Cavani to the Premier League.
City's current record transfer fee is the £38 million they paid Atletico Madrid to land Sergio Aguero, and they would seemingly have to break that to land Cavani.
Having seen rivals United outscore them in the Premier League this season, City will hope to improve substantially in this area of the pitch from January until May in the hopes of avoiding any more dropped points.
There are few strikers in the world who offer as reliable a stream of goals as the Uruguayan striker Cavani, who added perhaps another couple of million onto his price tag with a hat trick against Roma on Sunday.
He now has 16 goals in 16 games in Serie A this season—24 in 22 overall.
One Manchester City title-winner who has been sparingly used this season is central defender Joleon Lescott.
The former Everton player has only featured from the start on eight occasions in this season's Premier League, leading to speculation that he may be offloaded during January.
Mirror Football have Aston Villa as the prime candidates to take Lescott from the Etihad if he is indeed available, though the £10 million fee quoted seems perhaps excessive for the 30-year-old defender.
Villa certainly need to shore up their defence if they are to improve over the second half of the season, but it remains to be seen if City let Lescott leave—they would then have only Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic available as centre-backs, with Kolo Toure heading off to the African Cup of Nations.
Only Micah Richards would then provide recognised cover in the middle.
Manchester City have also been linked with a move for Metalist Kharkiv's Taison, who was believed to have almost completed a transfer to Chelsea.
Mirror Football now claim that the Brazilian has been targeted by City instead to help boost their attack, with other clubs also said to be interested in signing him.
Taison has been with Metalist since 2010-11 season and has won admirers for his goalscoring ability, mainly from the left side of attack or midfield, and is rated at around £11 million.
Samir Nasri is the usual suspect in that position for City but has been below-par at times this year, with new recruit Scott Sinclair barely getting a look in.
While one striker might yet be arriving at the Etihad in Cavani, one more might be heading out the exit gates as Real Madrid monitor the status of Sergio Aguero.
Last season's last-day hero has suffered in his personal life recently and the Express has indicated that the Spanish giants are prepared to offer big money to take him back to Spain as a result.
A £50 million fee is noted, which would let City replace Aguero without any problems, but they would no doubt rather that their striker, who has scored eight goals in 18 league games this season, can settle down to continue playing for them.
Aguero of course previously played for Atletico Madrid and stated last year that he might have been playing for Real if they had wanted him at the time he joined City.
All Manchester City's transfer targets of late seem to be with one eye on improving their attack, and the final link is no different.
Real Madrid's Luka Modric claims he has been unable to settle in the Spanish capital since moving from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer, and Metro.co.uk believe he would be open to a move back to the Premier League.
Having been labelled the "Worst Buy of the Season" in Spain (via Marca, in Spanish), Modric is now being linked with the usual big spenders from the Premier League, Manchester City and Chelsea.
City will lose Yaya Toure over the next few weeks to the African Cup of Nations and Modric might be seen as a solution to their depth in the midfield area.