Thursday, 30 June 2011

Manchester City switch from Alexis Sanchez to Alessio Cerci

Alessio CerciAlessio Cerci
Roberto Mancini is bidding to bring Fiorentina’s £6m-rated winger Alessio Cerci to City after losing his patience with Alexis Sanchez.

Mancini has declared himself tired of trying to talk Sanchez into a move to Eastlands.

And although M.E.N. Sport understands that a deal for the Udinese star is not completely dead in the water, the City boss is now looking to Cerci.

He believes Cerci, 23, could be the man to give City extra threat down the left wing next season.

The former Italy Under-21 international joined Fiorentina for £3.5m last August from Roma, where he had graduated through the youth ranks.

Mancini wanted to bring Cerci (right) to Eastlands a year ago, and has kept a close eye on his progress since then.

But the City boss, who is also chasing Partizan Belgrade’s defender Stefan Savic in a £6m deal, has ruled out a move for Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, despite revealing that he is in the hunt for another forward.

He feels that the 26-year-old, an Argentina team-mate of Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta, is overpriced at around £27m – the amount that would activate a release clause in his contract.

Asked about Cerci and Lavezzi Mancini said: “Cerci? We have several goals, we are sure to be interested in good and young players.

“I like Lavezzi a lot, but I don’t think he is worth the 30m euros [£27m] of his clause.”

The Blues boss made no secret of his frustration with Sanchez, who he was keen to bring to Eastlands from Udinese.

City were understood to have offered around £30m for the Chilean winger, but the club were unimpressed by his public pronouncement earlier this week that he would prefer to go to Spain.

Mancini said: “I talked to Sanchez. He said he was willing to come to City.

“But after the last offer, we are out of the race for the Chilean player.”

Despite those comments, it  is understood that the Blues have not completely given up hope on a deal for Sanchez, and are still in contact with Udinese.

The City manager’s bid to trim his squad has hit a brick wall over the last month, but his chances of offloading Craig Bellamy are growing, with Everton joining Cardiff in indicating an interest in the striker.

Toffees boss David Moyes is also monitoring the possibility of taking Shaun Wright-Phillips, who is also being watched by Bolton.

But Emmanuel Adebayor’s future remains up in the air after he added Paris Saint Germain and Blackburn to the list of clubs he doesn’t want to play for.

The 27-year-old striker, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Real Madrid, has already rejected interest from Zenit St Petersburg, while Marseille’s hopes of signing him have hit the buffers because they can’t afford his wages.

Adebayor has stated that he wants to go back to Real Madrid next season, but they are refusing to come close to City’s £12m valuation.

He said: “At Real, I got a taste for what it’s like winning a trophy. I can only go where we play to win a trophy or win the championship and not to play mid-table.”

Meanwhile, Mancini has suggested that both Tevez and Mario Balotelli will stay at City, despite being linked with moves away. Tevez has rejected an offer from Juventus this summer, will Balotelli has been touted for a switch to AC Milan.

“I think he [Tevez] will remain at City,” Mancini said. “I have three strikers, we need another one. Balotelli to AC Milan? For now, certainly not.”

 City keeper David Gon-zalez has joined Aberdeen on loan for six months.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Manchester City locked in a five-way battle for Brazil ace Neymar after meeting £40m price tag

Brazilian wonderkid Neymar 
Brazilian wonderkid Neymar

City are locked in a five-way battle to snap up Brazilian wonderkid Neymar as they look to get moving in the summer transfer market.

The 19-year-old Santos striker is free to open talks with any club who meet a £40million release clause in his contract.

Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro has now confirmed that five clubs have met that asking price.

They are understood to be City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and ambitious Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, who signed former Brazil international left-back Roberto Carlos in February.

“We don’t want to sell the player, but of course there is a release clause in his contract that can be paid. Five European clubs have offered to match the clause,” the Santos president told Brazilian television.

“I cannot name them because there is an agreement between Santos and the clubs, but they are the most important European clubs. They have asked to speak to the player and, obviously, we’ve allowed them to.”

Neymar narrowly missed out on Brazil’s World Cup squad last summer but has since established himself at international level.

Luis Alvaro did indicate over the weekend that he expected the teenager to stay at Santos.

And although he is ready for the possibility of a deal, the Santos president insists he does not need to sell the player.

“These clubs can come and make their offers, but if he wants to stay at Santos then he’ll say no and stay at Santos,” Luis Alvaro added.

City are keen to make a marquee signing ahead of next season’s Champions League push, and have become increasingly frustrated by continued twists and turns in their bid to bring in Alexis Sanchez from Italian club Udinese.

The Chilean winger has made it clear that he wants to join Barcelona, even though Udinese president Giampaolo Pozzo has indicated that he would prefer to do business with the Blues.

Sanchez said: “I dream of playing for Barcelona, because I have the chance to win a lot of trophies there. My biggest objective is to win a lot of silverware.

“I am still a young player, but I have the ambition to become the best player in the world. I need to be more clinical in front of the goal, but I am very eager.”

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Manchester City legend Mike Doyle loses his battle for life

Legend: Mike Doyle

City legend Mike Doyle last night lost his brave battle for life, aged 64. The Blues stalwart, renowned for his animosity towards United, suffered liver failure.

His distraught family had been praying for a miracle after doctors at Tameside Hospital warned them he had become very poorly.

Son Scott told the Manchester Evening News: “He was a great footballer, playing hundreds of games for City and England, but to me and the family he was our fantastic dad.”

His other son Grant said: “His consultant said he had seen only two patients pull out of this in 25 years. I took dad to the Sporting Chance clinic four years ago, which helped him get off the booze for 18 months.

“How does it reach this situation?  Well, I guess it’s just what players do. He obviously had a few bob and must have got bored.”

Doyle, who played for England on five occasions and was a City captain,made his name in the game with over 500 appearances for the Blues breaking into the all-
conquering Joe Mercer-Malcolm Allison team with other youngsters such as Neil Young, Glyn Pardoe and Colin Bell.

Known for his sometimes unorthodox defensive play and a knack for goal-scoring, Doyle hit the back of the net for City 40 times.

The son of a policeman had a reputation for not backing down either on the pitch or off it.

His hatred for United only increased his popularity among the Blues faithful.

Doyle lived in Ashton-under-Lyne with his wife, Cheryl, to whom he was married for 43 years, and, as well as sons Grant and Scott, he leaves daughters, Stephanie and Natalie and six grandchildren.

Scott said yesterday before his death: “He has been in hospital for seven weeks and we have been told he has badly advanced liver failure and it seems to be an untreatable disease.

“He is a grown man and despite all  efforts, including going to the Sporting Chance clinic set up by Tony Adams through the PFA, didn’t change his lifestyle.

“At the end of the day, it’s his own decision but he has lived life to the full. He’s a great person and a fantastic dad.

“He is very poorly indeed and we have all been called three times to say goodbye.

“The staff at Tameside Hospital have been fantastic.

“The nurses have got fond of my dad and we are all grateful for their superb care.”

Scott made headlines himself when he married the daughter of Doyle’s team-mate Pardoe. 

As well as regular visits from family members, Pardoe, who was Doyle’s best man, had  been to see his former colleague and there were calls from former team-mates Mike Summerbee and Tony Book.

After leaving City in 1978, he had short spells at Stoke, Bolton and Rochdale before becoming a rep for sports equipment company Slazenger.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Manchester City to turn down Aston Villa approach for James Milner

James Milner, not for sale!  
James Milner, not for sale!

Roberto Mancini will fight off Aston Villa's shock move to bring back midfielder James Milner.

Villa’s new boss Alex McLeish is weighing up an offer for the England international . . . just 10 months after he left the club for Eastlands in a £24m deal.

McLeish has made no secret of the fact that he wants a creative force to supply ammunition for main striker Darren Bent.

And Milner supplied that creativity week in, week out during two successful stints at Villa Park, firstly on a season’s loan from Newcastle in 2005/06, and then a two-year spell after making the permanent move in 2008.

City boss Mancini has stressed the need for a strong squad as he prepares to push for glory in the Premier League and Champions League next season – and sees Milner as a key part of that.

However, the 25-year-old knows he is likely to spend a significant chunk of next season on the bench for City.

He started only 23 of the Blues’ 38 Premier League games last term – and the normally level-headed midfield man lost his cool after being substituted during a 3-0 hammering at Liverpool in April, making no attempt to hide his annoyance as he walked to the bench.

Mancini has since described Milner as “an incredible midfielder”, and he featured in all of City’s final five Premier League games – starting three of them – as they secured a passage to the Champions League group stages by finishing third.

He was, though, only an unused substitute for the FA Cup semi-final win over United and the final victory over Stoke.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Manchester City aiming to kick-start summer clear-out

Emmanuel Adebayor Emmanuel Adebayor

Manchester City want to get the wheels moving on their summer clearout within the next week – with Marseille ready to offer striker Emmanuel Adebayor a route out of Eastlands.

The Blues are struggling to shift a host of high-earning fringe players as Roberto Mancini looks to reshape his squad for a Champions League challenge.

And they want to start shipping out stars before Mancini’s men return for pre-season training, with Adebayor and Craig Bellamy at the top of the exit list.

But club officials are standing firm in their insistence that they will not allow players to go cheaply.

City have accepted that they will take a hit on Adebayor, who signed a five-year contract when he arrived from Arsenal for £25m in 2009.

They refused to buckle, though, when Real Madrid tried to talk down his price from £12m to £5m last month.

It meant that the striker’s hopes of a permanent move to the Bernabeu, where he spent the second half of last season on loan, hit the buffers. Since then, the 27-year-old has knocked back a move to Russian club Zenit St Petersburg.

Adebayor, who has been in Ghana this week at the launch of a project he funded to improve water access for local communities, told an African radio station that he did not want to move to Russia.

“There is no chance of me going to Zenit,” he said. “I love the country but I don’t think I can see myself playing in the Russia league.

“I have an ex-girlfriend who is from Russia so it is nothing about Russia.

“There is nothing bad about Russia but I cannot see myself there playing football.

“If I have to go back to Manchester City, I will do that with pleasure and if I have to stay in Madrid, I will stay with pleasure – because at the end of the day, what is important is that I want to play.

“When I was not playing at Manchester City, I knew there was lots of criticism and people were saying maybe I was not really good enough to play football.

“And when I joined Madrid, I proved everyone that they were wrong.

“I’m very happy about that and it doesn’t really matter where I’m going next season.

“Right now, I’m enjoying my holidays and I leave the rest of the job in my manager’s hand.

“He is there to find me a club, that is his job

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Reported Manchester City target Javier Pastore will cost 50m euros, say Palermo

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini believes rumoured Manchester City target Javier Pastore will play abroad next season if the Argentina star leaves his club this summer.

The highly-rated playmaker is a target of top European clubs, with City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona all reportedly in the race to acquire the 21-year-old.

"Pastore is worth more than (Udinese winger Alexis) Sanchez," Zamparini told Corriere dello Sport. "He will one day win the Golden Ball award.

"I have not received any offers for Pastore but there have been approaches from foreign clubs, a few concrete, that are growing strong.

"But I reiterate that the player is worth 50million euros and that price could be higher depending on the offers as well as how the battles between the teams that are interested in the player unfold.

"I don't think Italian teams will make it. For 38million euros, Javier will not move. We are ready to extend his contract for a further two years and he would be happy."

Pastore joined Palermo in 2009 from Huracan for 19million euros and was the team's leading scorer in Serie A last season with 11 goals.

He is under contract with Palermo until June 2015.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Manchester City eye Hulk as hopes of landing Alexis Sanchez fade

Hulk of FC Porto with the Europa League trophy Hulk of FC Porto with the Europa League trophy
City are eyeing up more top European talent as their hopes of landing Alexis Sanchez appear to be slipping away.

The Blues are considering moves for either Porto striker Hulk or Spain Under-21 ace Juan Mata as alternatives to the Udinese star.

Sanchez appears to have hit a stalemate but wants the situation sorted out before he begins his Copa America campaign with Chile on July 1.

He failed to fly to Paraguay with his international team-mates for a friendly last night and is currently holed up in a Santiago suburb, and has booked an open-ended Air France flight to Spain.

City still hope that Barcelona’s insistence on offering £22m may kill that deal and Sanchez may relent on his preference for the European champions.

But they are also checking out other identified targets, including Mata, who has been one of the stars of his country’s progress to the European Championships final in Denmark.

Hulk is perhaps the closest to Sanchez in style, a quick, skilful forward who can play wide left or right and has netted 31 goals in 42 games for Europa League winners Porto this season. The pursuit of Sanchez has swung heavily in favour of Barca but Udinese owner Giampaolo Pozzo has played an intricate game to drive up the player’s price – still giving the Blues a tantalising hope.

He said: “Barcelona are ahead of City but the player has not expressed a big preference between the two clubs. Of course, we will consider his opinion. The deal is not done because there are still details yet to iron out.”

City are also considering a move for Lyon and France left-back Aly Cissokho, although they will not pay an expected £19m asking price.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Inter Milan admit they can’t afford Manchester City's Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez's £230,000 a week wages too much for Milan Carlos Tevez's £230,000 a week wages too much for Milan

Carlos Tevez priced himself out of a move to Inter Milan, according to the Italian club’s sporting director.

Marco Branca has confirmed the Serie A giants were interested in signing the City skipper, who last season hinted he wanted a move to Italy or Spain.

But Tevez was unwilling to give up his £230,000-a-week wages at City and Inter simply cannot compete with that.

Branca said: “Tevez is a great player, a great character, but absolutely no. His salary means it is out of the question.

“He is a great player but a move for him is out of the question. We have to organise our finances for the financial fair play rules in the next two years.”

Branca also said City and United are both wasting their time in pursuing Wesley Sneijder, claiming the Dutch ace is happy in Milan.

City have already distanced themselves from any move for Inter striker Samuel Eto’o, a former target, but Branca says he is also expected to stay at San Siro.

“Sneijder and Eto’o are great players who can change a game in a moment,” he said. “So it is normal that great teams should be thinking about them, but they are happy here and I don’t think they want to leave. We certainly don’t want them to.”

City are still hoping a final £32m bid for Alexis Sanchez may prise the player out of the grip of Barcelona.

The Blues made one last attempt to thwart Barca, who are not prepared to go above £22m plus Jeffren Suarez for the winger leaving Udinese denying the player permission to speak to the Catalans.

If accepted, a City offer would allow them access to Sanchez but it remains to be seen whether the player will agree to talk to the Blues.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Manchester City: We’ll follow Barca blueprint

Youngster Harry Bunn, graduate of Manchester City’s academy Youngster Harry Bunn, graduate of Manchester City’s academy
The next Lionel Messi could light up Hyde when an exciting new youth football venture kicks off in September.

Manchester City are one of 16 top clubs from around Europe taking part in the new NextGen Series tournament aimed at showcasing some of the world’s brightest young football talent next season.

And the Blues kick off their group with the best possible fixture, against the legendary Barca youth team, on September 15.

City will also face Celtic and Marseille in their group in the new tournament, with group games running until November, and then the top two from each group going forward to the last eight.

That will either be played as a normal knockout or as a mini-tournament, based in Abu Dhabi in the new year.


City’s participation in the Under-19 competition had led to a rumour that they were about to scrap their reserve side, which is nowadays called the elite development squad.

But, while they have withdrawn from the Barclay’s Premier Reserve League, the club insists it has simply shaken up its fixture schedule to attune it more to the differing development levels of their 18-21-year-olds.

The City team will consist mainly of academy players, augmented by players like Harry Bunn and Joan Roman, who were promoted early to the elite development squad.

City academy boss Mark Allen says the young Blues, currently away on their summer break, are already excited about the new challenge, which also involves Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa as well as big European names like Inter Milan, Sporting Lisbon and PSV Eindhoven.

“Fans who go along might just see the next Lionel Messi – and the Barca fans might get to see a future great Man City player,” said Allen, currently overseeing a revamp of the City academy.

The Blues,  along with the rest of the Premier League, are aiming to close the gap between English players and those from top football nations like Spain and Holland, in the next few years.

And Allen sees this tournament as a good gauge of how big that gap is, and what needs to be done to close it – with Barcelona as the perfect yardstick.

The Catalan giants’ nursery – known as the Cantera, or Quarry – has been producing golden nuggets for years.

The current European Cup-winning side is built around home-grown stars like Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi. Not only have they made Barca the best side on the planet, they have done it without a penny in transfer outlay, an attractive proposition with UEFA’s financial fair play rules forcing City to revise their transfer spending policy.

Said Allen: “The group we are in will put us against three different styles, which is what you expect to get in senior European football, so it’s another part of the development.

“The first team is now hoping to have European football, and hopefully Champions League, every season, so we are building a European element into our development programme.

“We will do it the same way as the first team, flying out the day before, training the night before, playing and then flying back after the match.”

He strongly refuted the suggestion that the reserve side is being scrapped.  “Far from the reserves going away, it is actually getting stronger and more focused, and what the fans will see is more relevant football for that development stage,” said Allen.

City have studied Barcelona’s youth development, as well as those of other successful set-ups around the world, and are hoping to become a category one Academy under the Premier League’s elite player performance plan.

That would allow them to significantly step up the amount of time they get to spend with young prospects, which has been identified as a key area in which England lags behind more progressive nations.

The latest inquest began after England Under-21s’ poor showing at the European Championships last week, with the FA’s director of development Trevor Brooking blaming a flawed education system.

At the moment the average elite English player spends 3,760 hours training or playing between the ages of nine and 21. That compares to 4,880 at Barcelona or 5,940 in Holland.

New rules may allow the top clubs to cherry-pick the best young prospects and take young players as boarders, opting out of mainstream education.

That would ape Barcelona’s La Masia, the converted 18th century farmhouse which sits in the shadow of the Nou Camp and accommodates their 13 and 14 year olds.

“Barcelona’s set-up is the talk of the town at the moment,” said Allen. “We have looked at their set-up from the outside, and a little bit from within as we have a good working relationship with Barca.

“What they do really well is that they do a lot of simple things repetitively so that they become ingrained, and stay ingrained right through the system.

“That is what is bringing them success right now – they have a very clear philosophy and style of play, and a very clear technical strategy in terms of what they do. It is not rocket science.

“Where they excel is on the technical side, as Trevor Brooking has been saying.

“They don’t move on until they are technically adept, and that is the big thing to learn for everyone in football, not just at City.

“It’s about finessing the technical game, and that is why in our younger age groups, from six to 11, we are very much geared to a technical programme where they get time on the ball.

“It’s less about what position they play, how big they are and so on. It’s more about feeling comfortable with the ball, feeling comfortable turning with the ball, shooting, passing and dribbling.

“Those things are a pre-requisite to moving on to the other aspects.”

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Carlos Tevez has some making up to do with Manchester City fans

Can Carlos Tevez make it up to fans? Can Carlos Tevez make it up to fans?
Carlos Tevez has some making up to do with City fans. Like any love affair, the relationship between the enigmatic Argentine and the adoring Blue masses – and his manager Roberto Mancini – has been a stormy one.

Tevez has flounced out, flown away on secret trysts and talked openly about a divorce from the club, citing irreconcilable differences.

For their part, City fans have loved having him around. For all his indiscretions and hurtful comments, once they are alone together, the passion is intoxicating.

Right now, the City fans don’t want flowers and chocolates as Carlito talks about another reconciliation. They just want goals, and lots of them.

For the last two seasons, Tevez has been the man who, above all others, has transformed City from the nouveaux riche to the truly wealthy, given them a style and substance of their own.

It has been a Jekyll and Hyde performance.

On the pitch, no-one can doubt him. He comes closest to fulfilling the urgent message of the big banner at Eastlands, which asks the players to “play like we dream”.

Once he crosses the whitewash, Tevez looks like he might be straight out of the back streets of Rusholme rather than the barrios of Buenos Aires.

But off it, he sometimes cuts an unhappy and restless figure, someone who wants to have his cake and eat it.

The Blues have made him the highest-paid player in the Premier League on £230,000 a week, despite incorrect reports that Yaya Toure and Wayne Rooney earn more.

No-one can blame him for wanting to spend as much time as possible with his two young daughters.

But the long days inbetween should be filled more productively.

There has always been the feeling that Tevez has held himself distant from Manchester, that he has not embraced City as a club, and it was the same at United.

He could take a leaf out of his friend and countryman Pablo Zabaleta’s book. He lived, until recently, in vibrant Didsbury, enjoying the student scene and city life, learning the language quickly, and always a willing and enthusiastic helper at City in the Community events.

It is no coincidence that players who regularly attend those events are among the most popular with fans, and those who have woven themselves into the fabric of the club most effectively.


Tevez should have a quiet chat with Zabaleta, Nigel de Jong, Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart, Micah Richards or one of the other serial attenders.

They get a kick out of seeing the looks of awe and appreciation on the faces of disabled, disadvantaged or just plain devoted kids. Carlos would, for sure, if he attended more.

Like anything, you get out as much as you put in, and maybe Tevez would be happier in Manchester if he threw himself more into the life of the city, and of the club.

Let’s face it, anyone who thinks there are only two restaurants in Manchester – even if he did mean only two worth frequenting – needs to get out more.

But no-one can hold a gun to his head, either for him to stay or for him to embrace the club, and City are now big enough not to need to get down on their knees and beg him to stay.

It appears that the truth of the situation has finally hit home to Tevez and to his agent Kia Joorabchian. No-one can afford Tevez, and only City will pay him the astronomical amounts he can make, even if he stays for just a short while.

Joorabchian said at the weekend that Tevez is now trying to arrange for his family to join him in his Prestbury home, and that he is now intent on leading the Blues to more glory. If he can get his life settled, and stop making ill-judged comments whenever he has an Argentinian microphone shoved under his nose, he has the makings of legend.

Stay at City for two years, win the Premier League, make some waves in the Champions League, and then go back to Buenos Aires, a legend to City fans, and a returning hero to supporters of his beloved Boca Juniors.

For all of the circus which surrounds Tevez once he is away from Eastlands and Carrington, Mancini will have no problem with welcoming him back to training after the Copa America next month.

He knows what he will get. Passion and sweat by the bucketload, and moments of goalscoring genius.

Now Carlos needs to apply some of that passion to the club off the field and away from the training ground.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Carlos Tevez set to stay with Manchester City

Carlos Tevez training with Argentina ahead of the Copa America Carlos Tevez training with Argentina ahead of the Copa America

Carlos Tevez is set to stay and lead Manchester City to title glory.

The player’s agent Kia Joorabchian has hinted that Tevez is prepared to stay and help the Blues achieve their dream of unseating neighbours United from the top of the Premier League.

Tevez is hoping to move his wife Vanesa and two daughters back to Manchester after their reconciliation last month in Buenos Aires, solving his homesickness.

And he is reported to have struck a deal with City that he will help their bid for glory for the next two seasons and then be allowed a free transfer should he want it – which would allow him a return to his first love Boca Juniors.

Said Joorabchian: “I don't think that speculation about Carlos moving is fair at the moment and I don't think money is a consideration.

“Maybe it's a case of his family coming over to him. That's something he's trying to sort out. I'm sure in the next week he will sort the family issue out.”

Tevez has upset some City fans with his comments about life in Manchester, but Joorabchian says the player’s commitment to the cause – always evident when he plays, not so much off the field – has been underestimated.

“Carlos has always had a goal,” said the Argentine’s representative.

“The goal was that City needed to get into the Champions League and win a trophy, and they won a trophy and achieved that goal.

“If you look at the team they are going to get stronger and stronger and, if Carlos stays, they would be my favourite to win the title.

“I'm sure that will be a factor in his mind and, the fact that City fans have embraced him, will count for a lot along with his great relationship with the supporters.

“I think all these factors will be positives for him to stay. Carlos has not made any decision to move. We have not asked to leave the club.”


Tevez’s camp had previously talked up a move to Italy or Spain, feeling that Tevez’s wife might be more prepared to return to him if he lived in a country closer to the Argentine culture and language.

But no Italian or Spanish club were willing or able to stump up between £40million and £50million for the Blues’ leading scorer, and able to pay his £230,000 a week wages.

Despite some City fans having qualms about the player’s attitude, manager Roberto Mancini has no problems, as Tevez has never allowed his feelings to show once he pulls on the sky blue shirt.

Remaining at City for two more seasons would net Tevez a cool personal fortune of £24million and allow him a dream move back to his childhood idols and first club Boca Juniors.

Buernos Aires politician and former Boca president Mauricio Macri said recently that Tevez had promised him he would return to Boca “in 2013”, which backs up rumours of an accord between City and Tevez.

Inter Milan are preparing to test Tevez’s resolve by setting up a swap deal for one of their stars.

The Serie A giants are keen to land Tevez, who has previously said he would fancy a move to Italy, and may be ready to include former City target Samuel Eto’o as part of the deal.

But the Blues have moved on from the 30-year-old Eto’o, who was one of their prime targets two years ago. That time, Inter beat them to his signature and City snapped up Emmanuel Adebayor instead.

City sources indicate that, having since signed Edin Dzeko and Eto’o’s former Inter teammate Mario Balotelli, they are no longer interested in the Cameroon star.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Manchester City fans ready to keep noise levels up and bag more silver

Manchester City's fans are revelling in the role of noisy neighbours.  And they can’t wait to turn up the volume on derby day next season.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson’s description of the Blues two years ago as the irritants next door has passed into Manchester’s football lexicon.

With City on the rise after qualifying for the Champions League and winning the FA Cup, there’s a genuine hope among the Eastlands faithful that next season could turn out to be something very special.

But even with new European adventures to look forward to, there’s nothing like the prospect of a Manchester derby to get the juices flowing.

With the Premier League fixtures released on Friday, every City fan has two key dates pencilled in next season’s diary.

“Within a couple of hours of the fixtures coming out, I’d already had half-a-dozen texts about the derby dates,” said Howard Burr, secretary of the Reddish Blues branch of City’s supporters club.

“The derby dates are always the first ones I look for, along with the Boxing Day and new year fixtures.”

For the record, City go to Old Trafford on October 22, with the return on April 28, although both matches are certain to be televised live which could see those dates change.

Boxing Day brings a trip down the M6 to West Brom – just as it did in 1999, when goals from Danny Granville and Shaun Goater secured a 2-0 win for City en route to promotion from the First Division.

City face the longer haul to Sunderland on new year’s eve, before Liverpool visit Eastlands on January 2.

As for the start to the season, City’s first four fixtures ought to give them a chance to get a few points on the board before the Champions League group games kick in.

The Blues start at home to Swansea on August 13, followed by trips to Bolton and Tottenham ahead of an international break, before Wigan visit Eastlands on September 10. City’s first Champions League fixture will fall on the following Tuesday or Wednesday.

“I don’t think Swansea will be an easy fixture,” Burr said. “Brendan Rodgers is a very good coach – I know Roberto Mancini wanted to bring him on to the staff at City before he went to Swansea.

“But it’s a chance for us to hit the ground running ahead of the Champions League.

“People are asking how we’re going to combine the demands of that competition with the Premier League, and I think that’s all going to depend on the depth of the squad.

“Roberto Mancini is going to be bringing in some players over the summer, and I think we’re going to be there or thereabouts in the league next season.

“It would be great to have a run in the Champions League like Spurs did – all credit to Harry Redknapp for that. But their

Premier League form suffered because of a lack of depth in the squad, and so the key for us is to make sure we’ve got that depth.

“I’m a bit wary of making predictions about next season – my heart says one thing and my head says another. But it’s going to be exciting. The noisy neighbours are going to get noisier. They’re going to need ear defenders at Old Trafford!”

One other date worth flagging up for City fans is May 5. It’s the day of the FA Cup final and, once again, there will be a full round of Premier League fixtures that weekend, with City due to visit Newcastle.

City’s cup final triumph over Stoke last month had to compete for attention with United’s clinching of a record 19th league title. Burr is not happy at the prospect of a clash being repeated.

“I think it’s outrageous,” he said. “If they are going to have Premier League fixtures on cup final weekend, why not play them on the Sunday or the Monday?

“It’s a case of TV ruling the roost. When people start moaning about this kind of fixture clash, I say to them: ‘Do you have Sky?’ Most of the time, they do. So I tell them: ‘You’re creating the problem’.”

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Manchester City not keen on Shay Given loan

Shay Given Shay Given

West Brom’s hopes of taking Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given on a season-long loan are unlikely to be realised.

The Blues either want the Irish ace to stay or to leave on a permanent move.

Meanwhile Felipe Caicedo is expected to join Levante, where he spent last season on loan, in an £880,000 deal. He is then set to be sold onto a Russian Club, with Lokomotiv Moscow a possible destination.

And the following players have been offered new contracts: Ahmed Benali, Chris Chantler, John Guidetti, Jeremy Helan, Eirik Johansen, Donal McDermott, Tom Smith and Sean Tse.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Manchester City plot move in Alexis Sanchez scrap

IN DEMAND: Alexis Sanchez The race to sign Alexis Sanchez took a new turn last night when Barcelona refused to get involved in a bidding war with Manchester City.

The Catalan side’s president Sandro Rosell reiterated last week’s statement that they had budgeted £40m for their dealings this summer, plus any money from selling players.

He added that coach Pep Guardiola may be allowed to raid next year’s budget, but he is reluctant to do so.

With Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas still Barca’s prime target, and Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi also in their sights, it means their valuation of Sanchez will not rise above £20m.

That means City, who would stump up £28m plus the £3m-rated Vladimir Weiss, remain favourites with Sanchez’s club Udinese, with United unwilling to match them.

City’s problem remains persuading Sanchez to go to Eastlands, as the Chilean star prefers Barcelona. His agent has also hinted he’d find United an acceptable destination.

That means the next week or two is likely to see a game of brinksmanship, with Barca relying on their pulling power, City using their financial and United hoping to bridge the gap between the two.

City were also on alert after Inter Milan star Samuel Eto’o, a City target two years ago, announced he is interested in a move to the Premier League.

2011/2012 Fixtures

16 July 2011 17:00 N Club America Herbalife World Football Challenge

18 July 2011 19:00 A Vancouver Whitecaps Herbalife World Football Challenge

23 July 2011 13:00 A LA Galaxy Herbalife World Football Challenge

30 July 2011 14:00 N Irish XI Dublin Super Cup

31 July 2011 16:15 N Inter Milan Dublin Super Cup

August 11
07 August 2011 00:00 N Manchester United Community Shield

13 August 2011 15:00 H Swansea City Barclays Premier League

20 August 2011 15:00 A Bolton Wanderers Barclays Premier League

27 August 2011 15:00 A Spurs Barclays Premier League

September 11
10 September 2011 15:00 H Wigan Athletic Barclays Premier League

17 September 2011 15:00 A Fulham Barclays Premier League

24 September 2011 15:00 H Everton Barclays Premier League

October 11
01 October 2011 15:00 A Blackburn Rovers Barclays Premier League

15 October 2011 15:00 H Aston Villa Barclays Premier League

22 October 2011 15:00 A Manchester United Barclays Premier League

29 October 2011 15:00 H Wolves Barclays Premier League

November 11
05 November 2011 15:00 A QPR Barclays Premier League

19 November 2011 15:00 H Newcastle United Barclays Premier League

26 November 2011 15:00 A Liverpool Barclays Premier League

December 11
03 December 2011 15:00 H Norwich City Barclays Premier League

10 December 2011 15:00 A Chelsea Barclays Premier League

17 December 2011 15:00 H Arsenal Barclays Premier League

21 December 2011 19:45 H Stoke City Barclays Premier League

26 December 2011 15:00 A West Brom Barclays Premier League

31 December 2011 15:00 A Sunderland Barclays Premier League

January 12
02 January 2012 19:45 H Liverpool Barclays Premier League

14 January 2012 15:00 A Wigan Athletic Barclays Premier League

21 January 2012 15:00 H Spurs Barclays Premier League

February 12
01 February 2012 19:45 A Everton Barclays Premier League

04 February 2012 15:00 H Fulham Barclays Premier League

11 February 2012 15:00 A Aston Villa Barclays Premier League

25 February 2012 15:00 H Blackburn Rovers Barclays Premier League

March 12
03 March 2012 15:00 H Bolton Wanderers Barclays Premier League

10 March 2012 15:00 A Swansea City Barclays Premier League

17 March 2012 15:00 H Chelsea Barclays Premier League

24 March 2012 15:00 A Stoke City Barclays Premier League

31 March 2012 15:00 H Sunderland Barclays Premier League

April 12
07 April 2012 15:00 A Arsenal Barclays Premier League

09 April 2012 15:00 H West Brom Barclays Premier League

14 April 2012 15:00 A Norwich City Barclays Premier League

21 April 2012 15:00 A Wolves Barclays Premier League

28 April 2012 15:00 H Manchester United Barclays Premier League

May 12
05 May 2012 15:00 A Newcastle United Barclays Premier League

13 May 2012 15:00 H QPR Barclays Premier League

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Why Manchester City really pack a punch for champ John Murray

Family affair John Murray with brother Joe, a Red Family affair John Murray with brother Joe, a Red
John Murray doesn’t remember the date – or even the result – but from the moment he set foot inside Maine Road, he was smitten forever.

The man who holds the longest unbeaten record in British boxing has been singing the Blues since he could talk.

And he predicts a rosy future ahead for his beloved City.

In the year that he hopes to transfer domestic and European dominance into world title success, he believes Roberto Mancini’s side will finally conquer the Premier League.

The 26-year-old has known largely hard times in his life as a football fan, but he is convinced that will all change now that City have broken their 35-year silverware hoodoo with their FA Cup triumph last season.

“That has to be my happiest memory as a fan,” said Murray, who faces Kevin Mitchell in a Battle of Britain next month. “I didn’t go to Wembley, but watched it in a pub near Eastlands and the atmosphere was amazing.

“Obviously, the last time they won something was before I was born, so the feeling of seeing them pick up a trophy was an unbelievable experience.

“I don’t think it will be the last. Roberto Mancini has done a fantastic job in his first full season at the club. He qualified for the Champions League and won a trophy – next season I think we can win the league.

“I just hope they don’t go out and buy a load of players again. It only needs one or two top- quality players to go along with what we’ve already got and you’ve got the making of a title-winning side.

“We still need some of those players to settle at the club and once they do, they’ll get even better.”

FA Cup wins and superstar signings like Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure are a world away from the City Murray knew as he grew up in Levenshulme.

Before Wembley success over Stoke last season, his highlight was the dramatic play-off final victory over Gillingham in 1999.

That same year United went on to win the Treble, but Murray insists there was never any doubt where his loyalties lay.

“When I was very young my aunt took to me to Maine Road,” he says. “I don’t remember how old I was. I think it was a derby match and I think we won, but I’ve been a fan ever since then.

“It’s not always been successful, but I genuinely think it will be in the future. After what they’ve achieved this season, you have to think it is just the start.”

Murray’s City Dream Team reflects his confidence that Mancini has the players to seriously challenge United for the title next season.

There are places for Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany, Nigel de Jong, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Carlos Tevez, while goalkeeper Joe Hart misses out to the hero of that ’99 play-off final penalty shoot-out.

“I really like Joe Hart,” said Murray. “I think he’s a cracking keeper and he’ll be the England No1 for years – but I used to really like Nicky Weaver.

“He was a cult hero among fans and he was the type of player who really raised his game for the big occasion. None more so than the play-off final.

“I’ll never forget his celebrations after the shoot-out.”

The name of Wright-Phillips might surprise a few with the England winger looking set to leave Eastlands this summer.

“I think he’s a great player,” said Murray. “He might not have had his best season last year, but he’s been a top player for us. He was at his best before he left for Chelsea and probably hasn’t been the same player since he came back.

“But I can remember how good he was then, so he’d definitely be in my team.”

It’s hardly surprising that a ring warrior like Murray has gone for De Jong as his midfield enforcer.

“He’s my favourite player at the moment,” he said. “I just like the way he goes in for challenges. Nothing frightens him and he’s so important.

“I’d also have Georgi Kinkladze because he was just an amazing player who all the fans loved and you can’t have a City Dream Team without Colin Bell.”

Naming Tevez in attack was the easiest decision of all for Murray.

“He’s one of the best players in the world,” he said. “He’s absolutely amazing for us ever since he came. I’d like to see him alongside Niall Quinn and see how they’d get on.”

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Manchester City's warning for suitors

Jerome Boateng Jerome Boateng

Manchester City are refusing to be held to ransom by wantaway stars Emmanuel Adebayor and Jerome Boateng.

And if that means the two players remaining at the Blues when the transfer window shuts, then the Blues are willing to live with it.

Boateng announced yesterday that he has negotiated a four-year deal to join Bayern Munich after an injury-hit and uncomfortable debut season at Eastlands.

That came as news to Bayern, who deny they have spoken to the player or his representatives.

City have not given Bayern permission to speak to Boateng.

The problem is that Bayern’s £10million offer for the player is less than half of what City want for him.

Manager Roberto Mancini believes the 22-year-old defender will one day be one of the world’s top defenders, but will let him go as the player is clearly unhappy at City.

But the Blues, who paid £11.5m to Hamburg for the Germany international a year ago, feel he is worth much more.

The transfer of Phil Jones from Blackburn to United is a marker in the current transfer market, City believe.

The Reds paid £16.5m for an under-21 international, while Bayern are offering two-thirds of that for a player who reached the World Cup semi-finals with Germany last summer.

Boateng, who missed the first six weeks and the last two months of the season with injury, accused City of being awkward over the proposed deal.

“It is true that I have agreed with Bayern on a four-year deal, now it is up to Manchester to make it work,” said Boateng.. “At the moment they are making things a bit difficult.

“My dream is to have a starting spot within a year, hopefully at Bayern, and then I want to win the European championship with Germany.

Boateng’s unhappiness at City stems from the fact that he prefers to play in a central defensive position, whereas Mancini has seen him principally as a right-back.

Even in that position he has become second, and possibly third choice, behind Micah Richards and Pablo Zabaleta.

Ironically, Boateng feels Mancini’s insistence in playing him at full back is damaging his international career – even though he starred for Germany at left and right-back in South Africa last year!

“It is about the position,” he said. “Bayern want me as a central defender and that is also an advantage for the national team.”

Adebayor’s future is also very unclear, with Real Madrid not budging from their £5m valuation, and happy for their option on him, which ran until this week, to expire.

Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has urged coach Jose Mourinho to do his best to keep the Togolese star, who scored six goals in his loan spell at the Bernabeu in the latter half of last season.

“I would keep him,”  said Ronaldo. “He is a very good footballer, but an even better team-mate. He is also very important in the dressing room. He’s like Marcelo, he transmits a lot of joy and positive energy.”

Tottenham and AC Milan are among teams looking at Adebayor, but City have told his representatives they will refuse any offers that do not come close to their valuation of the player, which is around £15m.

City officials have been meeting with their Udinese counterparts over the last two days in a bid to agree a deal over the Italian club’s Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez.

The Blues are still being cited as favourites to land the 22-year-old, with reports from Italy suggesting their inclusion of £4.4m-rated Vladimir Weiss – on top of £29m cash – has so far not been matched by rivals Barcelona, Inter Milan and Juventus.

Udinese owner Giampolo Pozzo has also suggested that United have re-entered the bidding for the player, who is said to have told his representatives that he would prefer a move to Barca or United.

Sanchez’s agent said his client’s future was still up in the air: “An agreement with Manchester City? Sanchez’s future is still wide open,” he said. “We’re working on it, after meetings with City, today we will have new appointments.”

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Manchester City in pole position for Alexis Sanchez

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is yet to make a definitive move in the transfer market this summer Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is yet to make a definitive move in the transfer market this summer

Manchester City are in pole position to sign Chilean whizkid Alexis Sanchez, according to the Udinese owner Giampolo Pozzo.

The Blues are refusing to be drawn into an auction for the 22-year-old winger, who has been compared to Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Udinese have already said he is worth at least £31m and have been trying to whip up an auction between City, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Juventus.

Reports in Italy suggest United are also interested, but the Reds are remaining low-key.

Said Pozzo: “He has a 50 per cent chance of him going. English football is the richest, and they know how to value a player – this is why City are favourites.

“If he’d go, at the moment Manchester City have the highest probability of signing him.

“But 35million euros won’t be enough.”

Sanchez himself claims he is in the dark over his future, but has refuted comparisons with Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, saying: “I I just know I want to play and improve as a person.”

Monday, 13 June 2011

Boy wonder bid: Manchester City lead race for Alexis Sanchez

IN DEMAND: Alexis Sanchez IN DEMAND: Alexis Sanchez

Manchester City are determined to grab the initiative in the race to sign Chilean ‘Boy Wonder’ Alexis Sanchez.

The move to land the Blues’ top summer target appeared dead in the water a fortnight ago when Barcelona seemed set to clinch the signature of the 22-year-old Udinese star.

But that deal stalled over Barca’s refusal to go above their £20.5m valuation, and the refusal of Bojan Krkic to be used as a makeweight in the deal.

With Inter Milan and Juventus already foundering as the stakes get higher, City were today prepared to up their initial £22m offer to around £27m – a price likely to be accepted.

City will also explore the prospect of including a player in the deal with Vladimir Weiss one possibility.

Barca’s interest has flagged as they have stepped up their interest in Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi and Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas – and they announced they have a £35m ceiling on their summer spending.

Real Madrid are the only other club capable and willing to go head-to-head with City, but they seem to be more intent on landing Atletico Madrid’s Sergio Aguero and Brazilian star Neymar.

The biggest stumbling block could be persuading Sanchez to move to England as he has already said he would prefer a move to Barcelona or to remain in Italy.

That is where Roberto Mancini comes in – he helped to talk David Silva into giving up the Spanish sunshine to join City, and the Blues’ top brass are hoping he can do the same with Sanchez.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Report says Kolo Touré has condition that makes him think he is fat

Kolo Touré
Kolo Touré is suspended from football until 2 September.

The full extent of the weight issues that led to Kolo Touré taking a banned substance and subsequently being suspended from football for six months has been laid bare in a report that diagnoses the Manchester City player as suffering from a "recognised medical condition" in which he had become "obsessed" with a "misplaced perception that he was fat."
The in-depth findings into Touré's disciplinary case for being found with bendroflumethiazide in his system claims three different doctors had seen him as part of the case. Their analysis was of a man who "for some years has had a problem controlling his weight, has become obsessed with his weight and more particularly the appearance of his belly".
The report, released by the Football Association, goes on to say the medical evidence "proved the existence of a recognised medical condition concerning his perception of his appearance" .Touré's case "was that he took the water tablets to reduce the size and appearance of his belly, flowing from his misplaced perception that he was fat, a symptom of his medical condition".
Touré was banned from all football activities, including training with the rest of Roberto Mancini's players, until 2 September, after admitting the offence following a routine drug test after the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on 12 February.
The report claims the 30-year-old told the commission he had been under the belief he was allowed to take the water tablets after putting them into a drug dosette marked "Herbalife" and showing them to the club's then doctor, Jamie Butler, during an overnight hotel stay before the FA Cup tie at Notts County on 30 January.
Touré's case was that he asked Butler "these are the supplements I take, are they OK?" According to the FA document, he "recalled Dr Butler looking through the bag, lifting out some of the contents and then telling him that "everything in the bag is OK.'"
However, Butler told the hearing he could not recollect seeing the bottle of water tablets at any stage, and that his recollection was that Touré simply told him he wanted to start taking some Herbalife products. His evidence was in stark contrast to that of the player.
The report finds Touré did not make sufficient checks to establish whether the water tablets contained any banned substances, pointing out there were "obvious and reasonable steps that he could and should have taken; for example, make proper inquires with the club or his own doctor".
Rather than checking with the clinic where the tablets were issued, Touré had "relied upon multiple hearsay: he asked his wife to ask her friend who asked a receptionist who asked a doctor. That was perfunctory and pregnant with risk".
Touré's legal team "comfortably satisfied" the hearing that he had taken the tablets purely for "aesthetic purposes" and not for any performance-enhancing means, but the former Arsenal player is criticised for ignoring the advice that is routinely presented to him as a professional sportsman.
The commission was "unimpressed with the argument that his medical condition impaired his judgment." The report adds: "Kolo Touré is 30 years of age. He has received anti-doping education. He has been tested many times before. He has appeared in an anti-doping film. He is a seasoned and experienced international player … knowledgeable about, and with experience of, anti-doping regimes.
"In short [he] repeatedly, and for some time, took medication contained in a medicine bottle labelled only [with] a white sticky label on which was printed 'water tablets x21'. Frankly, they could have been anything."

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Young Manchester City guns taking the fast route

PROSPECT: Harry Bunn PROSPECT: Harry Bunn
The route taken by Manchester City’s new owners when they first came to Manchester in 2008 has become part of Blue legend.

New chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak might have been expected to throw open the doors of the City of Manchester Stadium, like the new gunslinger in town.

But, apart from the fact such showmanship is not the urbane City chairman’s style, the reality that he visited the club’s academy at the Platt Lane complex en route to the stadium was highly symbolic.

From day one, Khaldoon promised that the people he represented, Sheikh Mansour and the rest of the City board, had the academy down as a key element in the development of the club.

And, while a staggering £325m has been spent on bringing in the kind of talent which has pushed the Blues into the elite of English football, the investment in the academy has been more low-profile but just as significant.

With Uefa’s financial fair play rules about to start biting next season, the nurturing of home-grown talent becomes more vital than ever.

Not that City have ever needed a prod in that regard – Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joey Barton, Dedryck Boyata, Daniel Sturridge, Micah Richards, Stephen Ireland, Michael Johnson and Nedum Onuoha are all testimony to that fact.

Now the Blues are busy preparing the next wave of youngsters to try their luck in the first team next season.

One of the reasons Mark Hughes got the sack at City was his unwillingness to give young players a break. He felt that in a crucial season, experience was the way forward.

Roberto Mancini was briefed that he was expected to give young talent its head – and his first match in charge, the Boxing Day win over Stoke in 2009, saw Dedryck Boyata and Javan Vidal on the substitutes’ bench.

Age no barrier

Mancini went on to blood Boyata, Greg Cunningham, Abdi Ibrahim and Alex Nimely that season, and has again shown this season that age is no barrier, even though competition for first-team places gets tougher with every cheque written.

Those young players will have an exciting new challenge next season, with the inaugural NextGen Series beginning in September, a kind of Champions League for under-19 players.

City have been drawn in a group with Barcelona, Celtic and Marseille – with all matches to be played at first-team stadiums – and the six-month competition will build to a final in January.

The new competition will give young City talents like Abdul Razak, Freddie Veseli and Harry Bunn the chance to shine on an international stage, as well as playing at stadiums like the Nou Camp, San Siro, Celtic Park and Anfield.

But the older City players may be farmed out on loan next season, with the possibility that the elite development team may be scrapped.

City have a number of youngsters who are expected to push for first-team football in the next two seasons, including Israeli ace Gai Assulin, whose first season with the Blues was disrupted by injury.

Then there is 18-year-old Spanish youth international Joan Angel Roman, a sumptuously-talented attacking midfielder, whose 17-year-old countryman Denis Suarez has already been secured from Celta Vigo in a £1m move.

French under-17 winger Jeremy Helan, 18-year-old Ivorian Razak and Veseli – a defender who captained Switzerland to the Under-17 World Cup – are other names to watch. Then there is Bunn, son of former Oldham striker and City coach Frankie, named academy scholar of the year last season after a prolific season which saw him break into the elite development team.

With Boyata, Ibrahim and Nimely all a year older and ready to step up their challenge, the conveyor belt of talent is still chugging along at Carrington and Platt Lane. But Mancini has demanded a better output.

Khaldoon said at the end of the season: “We have continued to invest in the academy and brought on a lot of talent this year. The reserves finished second this year.

“I am very optimistic, especially with some of the talents brought in over the last 12 months.

“The academy continues to go from strength to strength.

“This is always going to be a priority. You need a successful academy.”

Friday, 10 June 2011

I would like to go to Bayern Munich, says Manchester City defender Jerome Boateng

Jerome Boateng Jerome Boateng
Manchester City defender Jerome Boateng has outlined his desire to join Bayern Munich this summer.

Boateng joined City from Hamburg on a five-year deal 12 months ago but already has his sights set on a move back to the Bundesliga.

The Germany international, speaking at a promotional event in Hamburg, said: "I would like to go to Munich. On my side everything is clear."

Boateng believes he can further his international career at Bayern after expressing his displeasure at being played at right-back at Eastlands.

He added: "I have already told (City boss) Roberto Mancini that I want to play in central defence and not at full--back.

"Bayern have indicated I will play in the centre. To play there regularly is important for me because I will have a better chance of playing in the national team."

Boateng accepts his fate is in City's hands, though.

"It is all about whether I am released. I hope it works," he said.

"Bayern are bigger than Manchester City, they are one of the top six teams in Europe. To play for them would be an honour for me."

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Winger Alexis Sanchez back on Manchester City radar

Alexis Sanchez Alexis Sanchez

Manchester City are again eyeing up their top summer transfer target Alexis Sanchez after his club Udinese said no deal has been struck with Barcelona.

The Blues are likely to be the only club to meet the Italian club’s £27m asking price for the 22-year-old Chile winger.

And that means Sanchez will either have to review his decision that he did not want to move to England, or remain at Udinese for another season.

Reports in the Spanish press earlier this week claimed Sanchez had agreed a £60,000-a-week deal to join the European champions and that agreement between the two clubs was a formality.

But Udinese poured cold water on that suggestion, saying they had not been in contact with Barca over the sensational winger, who scored 12 goals to help unfashionable Udinese reach the Champions League this season.

Udinese president Franco Soldati said: “Regarding reports of a possible transfer of Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez to FC Barcelona, I would like to point out that they are not true.

“No agreement has been reached between Udinese and Barcelona for the transfer of this player.

“Moreover, no meeting has been scheduled between the two clubs to discuss such transfer.”

That news prompted Inter Milan to consider tabling a bid for Sanchez.

But City are the only club to have made a concrete move for the player, even though the indications were he preferred to stay in Italy – until Barca showed their interest.

Barca are also weighing up big-money moves for Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas and Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi, and may not be able to afford three major outlays.

City coach Attilio Lombardo revealed last week that City had cooled their interest in Sanchez, as it appeared he would remain in Italy, but they have not entirely given up.

They have been actively looking at other options, including Wesley Sneijder, Javier Pastore, Marek Hamsik and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

But the silence emanating from Carlos Tevez over his future means they cannot truly get on with their summer plans.

If Tevez’s camp can engineer his departure – which seems increasingly unlikely – City will have more money to spend and will also revise their entire strategy.