Manchester City have reportedly shortlisted a number of players to bring to the Etihad over the summer, as the newly crowned Premier League champions look to not only defend their title but also repeat Chelsea's feat and claim their first ever Champions League trophy. In fact, according to comments City coach Brian Kidd made to The Sun, the champions began planning their title defence merely hours after actually winning their first title in 44 years.
"The fans enjoyed it but, on the Monday, we started again. It's no good settling for winning one championship - you have to be hungry, you have got to go on and want more," Kidd was quoted as saying.
In the weeks since that dramatic win over QPR, City have been linked with a number of star players, including French club Lille's Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard, as well as Italian side AC Milan's Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Spanish club Athletic Bilbao's midfield/strike duo of Javi Martinez and Fernando Llorente (read the earlier IBTimes UK report here). A more recent report, in the Daily Mail, suggests City have already launched a £25mn bid for Martinez.
However, given the Fair Play regulations that are set to make their debut soon, City boss Roberto Mancini will be forced to let some of his present squad leave, in order to make financial room for new arrivals. A number of players have been linked with exits, including Serbian left back Aleksandar Kolarov, Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong (both of whom are wanted by Italians Inter Milan, according to the Mirror) and controversial strikers Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, as well as Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko. An earlier IBTimes UK report suggested Dzeko, who arrived for £27mn from German club Wolfsburg, was being targetted by Real Madrid and Juventus. The club's leading goal scorer, Agüero, has also reportedly been targetted by Madrid.
Fortunately for City fans, the Argentinean has dismissed any notion of a move away and pledged his immediate future to the club.
"I will continue with the City, I want to play in the Champions [League] here. Today City lives up to anyone, so I do not want to go. I decide where to go. If I say I stay, I stay," the striker was quoted as saying in a Daily Mail report.
Team mate Mario Balotelli was also quoted, in the same article, as saying he too would not leave the club, despite recent reports from Italy suggesting he could be used as bait in a deal to lure AC Milan's Brazilian centre back Thiago Silva to England.
"I play at Manchester City. I am happy at City and I will remain there," he is believed to have told Gazzetta dello Sport, adding, "I don't know anything. I haven't had any contact with them (AC Milan) in the past few years."
Dzeko, meanwhile, is quite clear he wants to leave; particularly after Mancini said quite categorically Balotelli would not be leaving. Dzeko's agent, Irfan Redzepagic, is reportedly talking to several German and Italian clubs.
"Edin is the first to admit he has lacked confidence at times this season, but he feels aggrieved that the team is not set up to suit a target man and he has often felt isolated. He thought his prospects might improve when the manager claimed after the defeat at Arsenal that Mario would probably be on his way out, plus the ongoing uncertainty over Carlos Tevez's future. But Carlos is back in the good books for the time being, the manager has come out and said Mario is staying, and now other strikers are being linked with a move to City," a club source told the Daily Mail.
Finally, as far as Tevez is concerned, a report by the Telegraph suggesting Mancini offered the Argentinean to AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani, during a courtesy visit in Italy, were quickly shot down.
"It lasted 10 minutes and I certainly didn't make an offer for Thiago Silva. Even less did I offer Balotelli [who played for Inter Milan for three years] or Tevez to Milan," Mancini said to Italian news agency ANSA.