Manchester City are reportedly targeting Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fernandinho, according to the Guardian. The 27-year-old Fernandinho was heavily linked to one of two Manchester clubs in the mid-season transfer window and he was even quoted as confirming the transfer. However, no deal was announced and he remained with the Ukrainians.
It now appears the Etihad club will return for Fernandinho in the summer, presumably as part of a large-scale revamp of the first team. Last season's Premier League champions have had a disappointing season so far: they've been beaten to the domestic title by arch-rivals Manchester United and dumped from the group stages of the Champions League for the second season in a row.
It is likely Fernandinho will be recruited to play alongside Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure in the centre of City's midfield. The Ivorian is one of the best box-to-box midfielders in world football and one of City's most influential players.
For now, England international Gareth Barry starts with Toure and former Real Madrid youth player Javi Garcia an option. City also have Everton youngster Jack Rodwell but the 22-year-old has spent much of the season injured and on the fringes of the first team.
Barry has only a year left on his contract with City and at 32 is in the final stages of his career. Fernandinho, should he join, will provide a long-term option and, in the short-run, a similar style to Toure, potentially improving City's midfield play.
Fernandinho joined Donetsk in 2005, for approximately £7m. He is contracted to Donetsk till 2016.
City Must Pay Full Clause
Meanwhile, Donetsk manager Mircea Lucescu has warned City that if they want to sign his midfielder, they must meet the full release clause. However, he also claimed that even if City offered that amount and spoke to Fernandinho, the player would turn down the move.
"If City want to [sign Fernandinho], the clause is €50 million [£42.3m]," the Romanian told PRO TV, adding, "If our players receive offers from teams higher than Shakhtar, we do everything possible to help them. Currently, I think Manchester City are not at our level."