The arrival of Manuel Pellegrini from Malaga to replace Roberto Mancini at the Etihad means there will likely be some high-profile comings and goings this summer – in fact the new boss has already imported Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fernandinho and Spanish winger Jesus Navas from Sevilla.
However, I highly doubt the Chilean boss is intending to put his chequebook back in his pocket just yet. City will likely require at least one top quality striker this summer, not only to replace the January outgoing of Mario Balotelli but perhaps also a replacement for Carlos Tevez who seems to be edging closer to an Eastlands exit.
That would leave City with just Edin Dzeko, who, incidentally, has also been linked with potential moves back to the Bundesliga and Sergio Aguero who has been linked with a return to La Liga in recent months.
Whilst I can’t realistically see City letting Aguero go, nor Dzeko unless a ridiculous bid came in for either one of them, Pellegrini will still need at least one top-notch frontman, probably two if he really does intend to reclaim the title and push for genuine contention in the Champions League next term.
Interest in AC Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy had intensified in recent months but the 20-year-old forward seems reluctant to leave the San Siro and City have reportedly now turned their attention elsewhere.
They had been heavily linked with Edinson Cavani but it now seems he is on his way to Stamford Bridge, if you believe the back pages. Several months ago the suggestion of Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic had been mooted but over the course of the month or so rumours linking him with both Arsenal and City seemed to have cooled somewhat.
However, if City can’t get Cavani or El Shaarawy, Jovetic would likely be the next best thing – I would actually rate him higher than El Shaarawy who is still young and needs development. Jovetic is approaching world-class quality and, at 23 he’s got plenty of gas left in the tank. Whilst El Shaarawy would have been an ideal replacement for his teammate at AC Milan Balotelli, Jovetic would represent a replacement more for Tevez.
My only concern would be whether he could adapt instantly to the Premier League – if City want to genuinely replace Tevez with an experienced world-class forward who already knows the English game they should test Liverpool’s resolve over Luis Suarez who is (albeit, out of the blue) linked with a move to the Etihad this summer.
The Reds would be very reluctant to let him go another English club, of that I’m sure and I have reservations over whether Suarez wouldn’t prefer to move away from English after the turbulent time he’s had over the last two years. Mancini sold Balotelli because he was a pain in the backside and bringing in a player like Suarez would be a big risk, given that he tends to get himself banned for lengthy periods every season.
For my money, for a top striker, I think City should reignite their interest in Jovetic – it looks like Arsenal are moving in for Gonzalo Higuain and City could probably outbid Juventus for the player – if Pellegrini wanted him, he could have him, I reckon.
Meanwhile, Pellegrini’s ‘footballing son’ Isco looks increasingly likely to join Real Madrid, despite City’s hopes to sign him from Malaga. The young Spanish midfielder would have been the best signing Pellegrini could have made this summer and he’ll know that better than anyone else but it appears the player would prefer to remain in Spain.
With that in mind, along with the problematic deals with El Shaarawy and Cavani, I would think Jovetic would be the best option – unless of course Pellegrini fancied swiping Robert Lewandowski from under United’s noses. I have no idea why City aren’t considering that as a genuine option.
I think Suarez would be a very difficult deal to agree and a very difficult player to manage, despite his obvious quality. He’d be just as much of a pain in the neck as Tevez and Balotelli combined and I think Pellegrini can do without that kind of melodrama in his debut season in charge.
For me, Jovetic ticks all the boxes – he’s one of the best strikers in Europe, he’s got the right attitude and he’d likely be easier (and much much cheaper) than Cavani to get. I’d like to see City step up their chase to sign him.
image: © carca