Manchester City Transfers: 7 January Targets for Roberto Mancini
Newcastle had been undefeated this season, and yet Manchester City were able to ease past them without many of their regular starters, who were rested after returning from the international break.
Manchester City now have 11 wins and a draw in 12 league games this season, and are five points clear at the top of the table, threatening to break away if Manchester United ever slows down.
They've already been repeatedly compared with the Arsenal Invincibles of 2003-04, and bookmakers have been taking bets on whether or not Manchester City will be able to repeat the historic feat in 2011-12.
However, for Roberto Mancini, that just isn't enough.
The Italian manager is always hungry for more quality players in his squad, and Manchester City, despite announcing a record loss of £197 million for the 2010-11 season, will not be reluctant to splash their cash on at least a couple more star players in January if Mancini feels they are needed.
With that in mind, here are seven players who Roberto Mancini will be interested in signing in January.
Napoli's Trio: Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamsik and Ezequiel Lavezzi
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Manchester City have been rumored to be interested in Napoli's three star players for some time now, but recently, Manchester City chief scout, Carlo Cancellieri, confirmed that interest, stating, "I confirm the interest of Manchester City in Hamsik, Lavezzi and Cavani, and I think that this should only please the Napoli fans."
As someone who does enjoy supporting Napoli when watching Serie A football, I fail to understand how Napoli fans are supposed to be pleased with the fact that Manchester City are publicly tapping up their players.
In fact, it's absolutely ridiculous to suggest such an idea. The fact that Manchester City are okay with regularly and publicly tapping up players, like Roberto Mancini did with Samir Nasri, is also a bit irritating, though tapping up has become more commonplace than in past years.
Getting back to the rumor, Cancellieri finished by making clear which one the three players interests Manchester City the most:
Cavani in particular has always been my 'bullet,' a player I like a lot. Other than Ibrahimovic, Cavani is the most incisive attacker in Serie A. And his agent knows well Manchester City's appreciation for his client.
With players like Samir Nasri and Adam Johnson regularly struggling to make the starting lineup—despite the immense quality that both players possess—adding Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik into the mix may just be an overkill on quality (though Mancini has always figured out how to rotate his players to keep everyone happy).
However, with Carlos Tevez almost guaranteed to move on to a new club in January, Manchester City may find themselves in need of a new striker to give City a good amount of depth up front, and Cavani, one of the best strikers in the world today, would definitely fit the bill.
On the other hand, there's no way that Napoli would want to sell their best player after having made so much progress in the league since his acquisition.
Furthermore, if they were to sell, it's unlikely that Cavani would go for less than £40 million or so, an amount which Manchester City can't afford to continue splashing regularly having posted record losses last season and presently facing a race against time to get in like with Financial Fair Play guidelines.
Personally, I expect that Manchester City will acquire none of these guys in January, but if there is one who they will at least chase, I expect it to be Cavani.
How Manchester City are performing in the league and Champions League come January will play a big role in whether Cavani is acquired or not.
Daniele De Rossi
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About two months ago, I wrote an article on Manchester City's interest in acquiring Daniele De Rossi in January.
Unsurprisingly, this two months on, City's interest in Daniele De Rossi has not lessened. When asked about Daniele De Rossi by the Italian media, Roberto Mancini had this to say:
It's always difficult to get your hands on a Romanista who plays for Roma. As a result, I wouldn't be surprised if he renewed his contract.
But, if De Rossi is one day available on the market then Manchester City will be ready, as will Real Madrid, Chelsea and all the big clubs. He's a top player, one of those few players who can get into the very best teams in the world. He's a complete midfielder, with class and experience.
Comparing Mancini's words on De Rossi in September with his words now, its clear that Mancini rates the Italian midfielder very highly and would love to have him at Manchester City.
However, it seems that Mancini is willing to wait on De Rossi to see how his situation resolves itself. If De Rossi does indeed sign a contract extension in January, then a transfer to Manchester City will no longer be possible.
If De Rossi chooses not to sign a contract extension, City may just decide to pursue De Rossi and sign him towards the end of the January transfer window, rather than wait until the summer when he is out of contract and available to every club in the world (though Manchester City would probably still win him over with the insane salaries they're capable of offering).
As for whether signing De Rossi is a good idea or not...I recommend checking out the article of mine linked above to find out.
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Daniele De Rossi isn't the only defensive midfielder that Manchester City are monitoring.
Speaking with Patrick Vieira, Manchester City's Football Development Executive, the Frenchman confirmed City's interest in the Rennes midfielder, saying: "I am sure that City are not the only club interested in him."
Practically every team in the world has been linked with Yann M'Vila, so its really anyone's guess where he ends up.
Manchester City have not been among the names most strongly linked to the Frenchman, however, so I don't expect him to end up at Manchester City in January unless City find themselves in some sort of an injury crisis come January.
The German forward on everyone's wishlist, Marco Reus, is apparently on Manchester City's too.
Speaking to the German media, Manchester City's technical director Mike Rigg had this to say about Reus: "I know Marco, because I like him a lot. He is one of the most talented players you have in Germany and we have watched him very often."
Marco Reus has become a very popular transfer target ever since Arsene Wenger called Reus' manager in Germany to inquire about the possibility of a transfer to Arsenal.
Reus is not the type of player that would really fit at Manchester City at present in my opinion, as City appear to prefer true strikers and true playmakers to players who overlap in both roles.
Additionally, Reus is still too undeveloped and unrefined to cut it with the best professionals of the game, so I could not see him cutting it at Manchester City.
In any case, a January move by Reus seems extremely unlikely, given his current manager's desire to hold onto him until at least the summer, if not longer. In the summer though, I still expect him to go somewhere like Arsenal, where he can develop.
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Eden Hazard has been linked with nearly every major European club, and Manchester City have reportedly thrown their name into the hat of teams interested in signing the Belgian winger.
Manchester City lack any real wingers aside from Adam Johnson, so this could be a good deal for Manchester City, but Hazard has not expressed an actual interest in signing for Manchester City, and City have not said anything in particular about their interest in signing Hazard.
Thus, I'd be willing to say that this transfer probably won't happen, and it almost definitely won't happen in January.