Didier Drogba could be on his way to Manchester City – if the Blues are forced to sell Carlos Tevez to arch-rivals Chelsea.
The Blues’ Argentine striker is poised to demand an Eastlands exit in the summer and the mega-rich Stamford Bridge outfit are one of only a handful of clubs in the world that could afford his huge wages.
City are desperate to hold on to Tevez, but may accept a bombshell deal that would see them pocket around £30m plus Ivorian hitman Drogba as a makeweight.
Out-of-sorts Tevez, currently battling injury in a bid to be fit for the FA Cup final, has limited options if he does leave Eastlands.
Inter Milan have distanced themselves from reports that they want to buy him, with president Massimo Moratti insisting his club have not held any talks about a possible move.
The player was reported to have met with Inter officials during a recent trip to Italy but Moratti claims there has been no contact, adding : “I saw that on TV but there is no connection at all with us."
But the M.E.N. understands City boss Roberto Mancini has been alerted to the availability of Drogba, who has just one year left to run on his Stamford Bridge contract and is becoming increasingly frustrated by the battle for places in Carlo Ancelotti’s team since the January arrival of Fernando Torres.
City’s hierarchy and Mancini are hoping that with Champions League qualification virtually guaranteed, their skipper, who has three yerars left on his current deal, will agree to stay.
But there has been an uneasy peace between the talismatic Argentinian and the club since the 27-year-old, who controversially swapped Old Trafford for Eastlands in 2009, handed in a transfer request in December.
Tevez later withdrew that demand though, unlike Wayne Rooney who got a huge pay rise after his own tranfer plea at United, he was not given any increase.
Mancini has repeatedly dismissed reports of a rift, claiming Tevez can force his way back into the team before the Wembley FA Cup final with Stoke City on May 14.
But the Italian may be persuaded to cash in on the striker to fund an assault on the Premier League and Champions League titles next season, rather than dig in his heels and keep an unhappy player.
City’s big-money buys Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko have struggled to fire in their first seasons in English football while 33-year-old Drogba would come with a proven Premier League goal record.