Manchester City: 5 '25-Goal Strikers' That Roberto Mancini Could Buy This Summer
After a lacklustre league campaign in which no player has scored more than 12 goals, Roberto Mancini is looking for the kind of player that every manager desires, a striker who can guarantee 25 goals a season.
"Last season, we scored 20 more goals by this stage," the Italian told The Guardian as he reflected on players like Sergio Aguero, who has scored half as many league goals in this campaign compared to the last.
Here are five forwards who could fill the Citizens' goal deficit next season by hitting the magical quarter of a century.
Edinson Cavani is Serie A's leading goalscorer with 26 this season, improving on the 23 he netted in the last campaign and equaling his league tally of 2010-11. This is exactly the kind of consistent form Mancini is after.
The Uruguayan has been on the Citizens' radar since last season, when his three goals against them in the Champions League aided their unceremonious group stage exit.
Rumours of a transfer to Eastlands have been circulating for months with City touted as one of the few clubs willing to break his £54 million release clause. "If a club has a clear project and they want to focus on me, they can't be frightened in front of this figure," Cavani flirtatiously said in January (quote from The Mirror).
The latest rumor reported in The Daily Mail suggests Edin Dzeko will be sent to Naples, bringing the fee down to a slightly more sensible £35 million. The Mail has also suggested City will make Cavani the Premiership's highest-paid player with a £13.3 million salary.
How his contract would sit within the context of the new Financial Fair Play rules is anyone's guess.
With 50 league goals in the past two seasons (and 77 in all competitions), Radamel Falcao is a goalscorer of the highest calibre.
The Colombian has been the Europa League top scorer for two consecutive seasons, and in his first season with Atletico Madrid, he boasted a better goals-per-minute ratio than Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi (stat via The Guardian).
Atletico have managed to cling onto their prize striker this season, but it is likely he will move to pastures new in the summer. Manchester City have been frontrunners in the race to pay £50 million for his signature for many months, but they face stiff competition from a few Premier League rivals.
The Daily Mail believes Chelsea may fix their Fernando Torres problem by spending a similar amount on Falcao while CNN journalist Tancredi Palmeri believes he has been promised to the Special One upon his return to Stamford Bridge.
Also in the race are Manchester Utd, who apparently intend to complement prolific goalscorer Robin van Persie with the Colombian. The lure of working with Sir Alex Ferguson may prove difficult to resist, but the lure of City's millions—and the lack of competition for the No. 9 slot from a certain Dutchman—will also be attractive.
For a striker with a proven record of scoring 20+ goals in the Premier League, one need look no further than Edinson Cavani's international teammate, Luis Suarez.
Since receiving a 10-game ban for chowing down on Branislav Ivanovic, many believe the Uruguayan may have played his last game for the Reds—particularly as he has made it quite clear he will move to a bigger club if the right offer is made.
Rumours persist that Bayern Munich are interested in signing the 26-year-old, but The Sun says Manchester City are thinking about making a £40 million bid for the striker this summer. Roberto Mancini is a big fan of Suarez, having called him "one of the best in England" in February.
To give the speculated move even more weight, Noel Gallagher has given it his support. What more authenticity could a transfer rumor need than that?
Sevilla are on the cusp of European qualification this season thanks in part to Álvaro Negredo, whose 20 goals have made him La Liga's fourth-highest scorer.
Thanks to this prolific form, the Madrid native—who once nearly signed for Hull—has caught the attention of some of the Premier League's elite.
The Metro believes Tottenham are interested in the £15 million-rated striker, but they face a fight from Borussia Dortmund, who will almost certainly need to fill a Robert Lewandowski-shaped hole in their lineup.
Swansea are also said to be tracking the Euro 2012 winner, but the Welsh side are unlikely to be able to compete with the financial clout of Manchester City.
The Express suggests City may turn to Negredo if they fail to land Cavani or Suarez. With a similar strike rate, but nearly a third of the transfer value of the high-profile Uruguayans, Negredo would certainly be better value for money. Then again, since when were Manchester City interested in value for money?
With five goals in the past four Bundesliga games, Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling is currently the league's joint top scorer.
In 2009-10, the 29-year-old finished second top scorer in the league with a tally bettered only by a chap named Edin Dzeko.
There has been no specific press speculation that City will buy from Germany once again, but The Metro linked Kiessling to Chelsea a few months ago in a move that would have cost the Blues just £6 million.
If Kiessling is good enough to make Chelsea's radar, surely he is worth consideration at Eastlands? And with transfermarkt.co.uk rating his value at £8 million, Sheikh Mansour could probably fund the transfer with the money between his couch cushions.