“But they tell me they’ve got one or two players signed already who’ll blow your brains out. I mean, that’s where they’re going” – Harry Redknapp.
Wow. Big words.
It has never been a hidden fact Champions League qualification would lead to a new plethora of stars gracing the turf at Eastlands. With qualification secured it is now time to turn our attention to these players who will, as Redknapp eloquently put it, ‘blow your brains out’.
1. Alexis Sanchez: The pacey Udinese winger (below) has formed a lethal partnership with fellow forward Antonio De Natale, and City no doubt will be hoping for a similar combination with Silva and Tevez/Dzeko/Balotelli. At only 22 he could be seen as ideal competition for Adam Johnson, who has been largely inconsistent for this season. Udinese will certainly look to cash in with a price of £25 million rumored.
2. Kaka: The formed Ballon d’Or winner was allegedly subject to a £100 million pound bid from Mark Hughes in 2009, but ended up at Real Madrid instead. Following several injury hit years in Madrid the mercurial Brazilian will be available at a much lower price. It may be time for the ‘marquee signing’ to pitch up at Eastlands. Could cost as much as £30 million.
3. Gonzalo Higuain: With current top-scorer Carlos Tevez and bad-boy Emmanuel Adebayor linked to Real Madrid, could Higuain find himself part of a cash + player deal. At only 23 years old the Argentinian has already amassed an impressive 69 goals in 127 league games for Los Merengues.
4. Jussi Jaaskelainen: With City almost certain to lose dependable understudy Shay Given, and with Stuart Taylor not quite at the standard of a Champions League number two, could the experienced Bolton keeper be convinced to head down the road for one last pay day?
5. Jan Vertoghen: City fans shouldn’t need much convincing about Belgian centre backs, following the meteoric rise of Vincent Kompany this season. But the impressive form of Lescott in the latter half of the season and the possible return of Kolo Toure will mean there is no guaranteed starting place. City as face fierce competition for the Belgian from Arsenal. Would cost in the region of £15 million pounds.
Mancini also faces several headaches over outgoings at the club with current loan players Adebayor, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge and Santa Cruz likely to see the exit door, most certainly coupled with injury plagued Michael Johnson and maybe star Carlos Tevez.
However, no doubt, this will not be a headache Mancini will lose any sleep over. In the meantime City fans will be well aware of the threat of Stoke at the weekend, but bigger challenges loom ahead, including a potentially tricky Champions League qualifying tie.