Roberto Mancini has stated that Manchester City will look to strengthen their squad in January and also insisted the club will not offload any of their players during this transfer window.

Roberto Mancini
Roberto Mancini wants to bring in a few players in January. Reuters

Recent rumours suggested that Mario Balotelli and Joleon Lescott were set to leave the Etihad in January but Mancini's latest comments have put all the speculation to bed.

The former Inter Milan manager said he expects a busy winter transfer window, as the Citizens prepare for the departure of Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure for the Africa Cup of Nations this month. Long-term injuries to Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell have also pegged back the Premier League champions in their title defence.

"We can't sell players. We don't have enough players to play if we sell players. Probably - we can have a problem because we lose three players and we have Micah, I don't think he play until the end of February. Jack - we don't know when he can play. Maybe we can recover Kolarov in two weeks. We will see this in next days," Mancini explained.

The English champions have been linked with a host of players, including Barcelona striker David Villa, Arsenal forward Theo Walcott and Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fernandinho, especially after the Brazilian revealed that he would move to Manchester in January.

Mancini: City were Close to Signing RVP

Robin van Persie
Manchester City were favorites to sign van Persie before he joined United. Reuters

Meanwhile, Mancini has revealed that City came very close to signing former Arsenal skipper Robin van Persie in the summer, before the Dutchman made the switch to their arch-rivals Manchester United. And the Italian feels the Premier League's top scorer is currently the difference between Sir Alex Ferguson's side and his team.

"We were very close to signing him. I know what the reason was, but I won't say. It wasn't about money. We wanted Van Persie because we knew he was different from our other strikers. We wanted to improve our team, particularly for the Champions League," Mancini said.

"Van Persie is a very important player for United. He's scored 13 or 14 league goals and it's clear he has changed their situation. At the moment, he is the ­difference between us and United," the City manager added.