Even though it feels like the madness of the summer transfer window is only just subsiding, the next opportunity to bring new players in is just around the corner.
Manchester City have been linked with one or two (as always), but how much should we read into the reports? Here we look at some of the rumours and attempt to call fact or fiction.
There’s a growing school of thought that suggests City are looking to a deal to bring Lionel Messi to the Etihad. According to the Mail, Messi has become frustrated by the pressure placed on him in Barcelona, and they believe a number of super agents are looking to organise a move away from the club.
There has been no price or contract details mentioned (they would be astronomical), but it’s thought that a deal after the World Cup this summer is possible. Messi, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner, has scored a remarkable 327 goals in 395 games, and has six La Liga and three Champions League titles to his name. He is largely seen as the best player the world has ever seen.
The idea of Messi leaving Barcelona seems unlikely given the level of success he has had, and will continue to have, at the Camp Nou.
According to a report in the Mirror, City are set to make an offer for Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos. The Blues have struggled defensively this season with Vincent Kompany only playing four league games—two of which he limped out of early—and signing a top-level centre-back is likely to be something manager Manuel Pellegrini is considering.
Ramos is one of the best around. A footballing centre-half who can also defend ruggedly, and City are apparently looking to capitalise on some friction between himself and his current club. The 27-year-old wants a pay rise and the club are stalling, meaning there may be a move on the cards.
He would cost in the region of £30-£40 million.
Unlikely in January but don’t rule out a move in future.
Julio Cesar/Victor Valdes/Iker Casillas
With City’s worrying goalkeeper situation causing them concern, it would be no surprise if Pellegrini and his team have lined up a new goalkeeper in January, with three names consistently linked so far.
Julio Cesar, the Brazil and Queens Park Rangers 'keeper, is available on a free transfer in January (according to the Fulham Chronicle, via Daily Star), and would provide ideal short-term competition for Joe Hart. It’s unusual for a goalkeeper of his undoubted quality to be available on a free transfer, and it’s likely City are interested.
Barcelona's Victor Valdes has also been mentioned (via the Guardian). Valdes' contract is set to expire in the summer and he looks set to leave Camp Nou. Monaco are also interested, but don't be surprised if City push for a deal to be done.
And finally Real Madrid's Iker Casillas is another big name 'keeper being linked with City (via Daily Star). Casillas is one of the finest goalkeepers ever to play the game, and if City are thinking about replacing Joe Hart in the long-term, then a move for the out of favour Madrid man would make a lot of sense.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!