The soothsayer warned Julius Caesar to "beware the Ides of March" in William Shakespeare's play about the life and death of the Roman dictator. With the January transfer window now open, Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko might need to beware the Ides of January.
It might not take manager Manuel Pellegrini more than half the month to offload Dzeko based on his recent performances.
Supernova Sergio Aguero has not played for City since their Dec. 14 trouncing of Arsenal at the Etihad. With the dense holiday schedule presenting City with scads of matches, Dzeko had ample opportunity to reestablish himself as an elite striker in Aguero's absence.
It has not happened.
Most recently, he was held scoreless by Blackburn Rovers—that's right, Blackburn Rovers—in an FA Cup third-round match that led to a draw and replay. Dzeko's strike partner, Alvaro Negredo, didn't sound too pleased with the prospect of a replay when speaking with Richard Jolly of ESPNFC.com:
There are a lot of games in January and maybe the last thing we wanted is another game but we did the right things and the rules are we have to play another game. In the end they did well and they forced the replay.
Dzeko's last goal came against Crystal Palace on Dec. 28. It was the match-winner. It was also an overdue strike, as he had squandered more than a good few chances in that match.
Before that, you have to go back to Dzeko's Capital One Cup brace against Leicester City on Dec. 14 to find his name on the scoresheet. Fattening up on the likes of Leicester City was just the sort of thing Carlos Tevez was doing last season. You will notice that Tevez is not around at the Etihad anymore.
Jolly noted in a separate piece for ESPNFC.com that Dzeko and Negredo's recent play suggests that, despite their most professional efforts, a successful partnership between the two is unlikely:
Negredo and Aguero form an instinctive, intuitive and prolific partnership. In the Argentine's absence, however, he and Dzeko are uneasy allies. Perhaps, as two target men, they are simply too similar.
If that is true, Dzeko's days on the blue side of Manchester are very likely numbered. Aguero is going to be healthy soon and Negredo is not going anywhere.
Dzeko does not lack for interested suitors. He never has.
According to a recent Manchester Evening News report, AC Milan are still hot for Dzeko: "AC Milan aren't ruling out a move for Edin Dzeko if they lose striker Mario Balotelli. Super Mario is being touted with a move to former boss Roberto Mancini at Galatasaray."
A stranger rumour from Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard suggests that Chelsea may come in for Dzeko. The story rightly notes that that deal probably will not happen, as Dzeko is "unlikely to be sold to a title rival, particularly as Sergio Aguero is currently sidelined."
That, and one imagines that Pellegrini would likelier douse a burning Jose Mourinho with petrol live on BBC One than sell Dzeko to Chelsea.
Regardless, Dzeko would be well-advised to pack a duffel with a few days' worth of clothes, toiletries and a banded pack of £50 notes.
He could well find himself borne on the tide in the affairs of men.