"My agent is over there, talk to him."
Manchester City are so close to playing football that actually matters.
After a whirlwind world tour, City can finally start focusing realistically on the Premier League season opener against Newcastle United at the Etihad on August 19.
The August 10 friendly with Arsenal will pique interest, no doubt, but as ever nothing compares to genuine Premier League play.
As Yogi Berra might have said, it got late early in the summer transfer window.
As Ferris Bueller might have said, if you didn't stop and look around once in a while, you might have missed it.
City might be finished in the transfer window. If they are, no one can say they did not do their utmost to improve the squad.
Still, there are moves to be made if City want to make them.
City seem to be trying to wait Real Madrid out where Pepe is concerned.
"Manchester City have not yet learned the severity of Matija Nastasic's ankle injury," reported ESPN.com on July 30, 2013.
A Google search of "Matija Nastasic injury" contemporaneous with this post revealed no new information.
Well, even without a medical degree, my expert opinion is that Nastasic's ankle injury must be fairly serious.
Nastasic was sent for scans about a week ago, per David Kent of the Daily Mail.
So either the club cannot find a doctor qualified to diagnose the injury or, more likely, the Nastasic injury is significant and City just do not want to say so.
For his part, Pepe is being sort of cute about the whole thing. "I have a contract, I love the club and I have great affection for the people," Wychrij quoted Pepe as saying about his status at Real Madrid.
Not reported was Pepe saying something come-hither to Manchester City. But maybe that is implied.
If Pepe is not available, or if the cost is just prohibitive, City might move for Astori.
Say this for Manchester City: They learned from last summer's transfer window debacle.
City missed out on Robin van Persie, then staggered from the window with a decidedly mixed bag containing underwhelming talent like Maicon and Scott Sinclair.
That is not going to happen to City this time around. If, for example, Real Madrid demands absurd compensation for Pepe (or just won't move him), City have other fires burning.
Astori, who will turn 27 in January, has been with the Serie A club since 2008.
Manchester United previously expressed interest in Astori, which frankly is good enough for me.
Oh how I have waited to shoehorn a Robinho photo into one of these slides.
Santos striking sensation Victor Andrade, all of 17 years of age, has expressed interest in leaving Brasileirao and taking on the Barclays Premier League.
And Manchester City has an in.
You can go ahead and assume that if those three clubs know how good Andrade is, everyone else does too.
Especially after Stammers blabbed it in The Mirror.
It is a bit difficult to imagine Andrade willingly coming to Manchester City as the club is presently constituted. Going from a first-team choice at Santos to a fifth striker slot makes little sense.
Perhaps we should just file this away for next summer or sometime soon thereafter.
Will this be the last silver Dzeko holds as a Citizen?
Manchester City and Edin Dzeko have a relationship that mirrors many infamous love affairs.
Love is hard, and love can hurt.
Earlier this past week, for seemingly the hundredth time this summer, a report surfaced about Dzeko perhaps being on his way out the door at City.
This time it was Jack De Menezes at The Independent, speculating that "Tottenham could launch a bid for Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko should their pursuit of Valencia’s Roberto Soldado fail to finalise."
Even die-hard rumor lovers had to scratch their heads at this one.
Would City really let Dzeko go to Spurs and let him terrorize them twice a season? If you move Dzeko, you move him out of the Premier League, right?
Turns out the answer is Dzeko, for now, is going nowhere.
Manuel Pellegrini came forth later in the week to declare his affinity for Dzeko.
Per Richard Jolly of ESPN.com, Pellegrini said of Dzeko: "Everyone was talking before I arrived that we will bring in Cavani, Lewandowski, but I always trusted in Edin Dzeko and he is now playing the way I want."
City loves Dzeko not, City loves Dzeko.
Action shots of Scott Sinclair in City colors are as rare as double rainbows.
While Manchester City's relationship with Edin Dzeko has love-hate tendencies, their relationship with Scott Sinclair is less complicated due to a basic lack of affection for the former Swansea City man.
Initially the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini at City seemed a possible lifeline for Sinclair, who was buried on City's bench by former City manager Roberto Mancini.
But that lifeline seems to be fraying if it ever existed.
According to Jack De Menezes of The Independent, Pellegrini is now ready to try to "recoup around £6 million for the winger they signed from Swansea last year."
More remarkable than the thought of any team paying £6 million for Sinclair is the thought that a number of teams might do it.
Step right up, gentlemen.
Another week, another rumor about Kolarov leaving Manchester City.
The will-he-or-won't-he waiting game surrounding Aleksandar Kolarov at Manchester City is not slowing.
Apparently, Juventus is still seriously interested.
Per John Cross of The Mirror, "Italian champions Juventus have launched a £12 million raid for Manchester City's Aleksandar Kolarov."
Cross also indicates that Kolarov and City manager Manuel Pellegrini are discussing Kolarov's role and consequent future on the blue side of Manchester.
And the waiting game keeps on keeping on.