Liverpool striker tops Mancini's summer wish list
ROBERTO MANCINI has served notice of Manchester City's readiness to test Liverpool's resolve over Fernando Torres by saying the club have the money and ambition to launch a £60m summer move for the forward.
Senior figures at City have been encouraged by sources close to Torres that he would be open to a move from Anfield if, as is likely, Liverpool fail to qualify for next season's Champions League.
Torres (26) is less than 12 months into a £114,000-a-week four-year contract signed in May 2009, but City are confident that he could be tempted should they deny Liverpool a place in Europe's premier competition.
While City, courtesy of owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, possess the financial muscle to compete for Torres, should he become available, the club are mindful of their failure last year to sign Kaka and Samuel Eto'o when representatives of the players had raised the prospect of a deal, before instead securing moves to Real Madrid and Inter Milan respectively.
There is also a perception that City's lack of European pedigree could prove an Achilles' heel should Barcelona or Chelsea enter the running.
With City well placed to secure Champions League football, however, Mancini said that Torres was a player firmly on the club's radar.
"We are a top team and I think all the top teams are interested in Torres,"
he said. "For me, he is with Carlos Tevez, Rooney, Messi, Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo as the best in Europe. I think we must buy a top player. We must make sure we don't spend too much on normal players.
"But if there is the possibility to spend the money on top players, or young players who can help us build a future, I think it is okay.
"I don't like to waste money because I have respect for the club and the owners but, if we need a player, we will spend."
Despite Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett announcing their intention to sell the club last week, new chairman Martin Broughton has insisted that there is no pressure to sell players to ease the club's £237m debt.
Doubts over the future of manager Rafael Benitez, linked with a move to Juventus, have cast uncertainty over the intentions of Torres, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season following knee surgery.
While Mancini's immediate objective is to secure the fourth place that will unlock the door to the Champions League, he said that his summer strengthening programme would revolve around shaping a team capable of winning the Premier League next season.
"All the top players want to play in the Champions League, but I want to win the Premier League," he said.
"I want players to understand that Manchester City are an important project for the future and that they can come here, even if we do not get fourth position. If we want to win the Premier League I think we must sign some important players."
Mancini, meanwhile, was confident Emmanuel Adebayor would learn from his mistakes and keep his focus on the football at Arsenal tomorrow.
The striker returns to the Emirates Stadium for the first time since his stormy appearance against Arsenal this season.
Adebayor was handed a four-match ban for raking his studs down the face of former team-mate Robin van Persie, an action which drew an angry verbal response from the Dutchman.
That incident came after the forward raced the length of the pitch to slide in front of the Gunners' supporters after scoring against his old club.
"Emmanuel made a mistake," Mancini said. "If he scores another goal I will be happy, but it is important we don't have another situation like the first one." (© Daily Telegraph, London)