MANCHESTER CITY manager Roberto Mancini will try to persuade his board to sanction a straight swap deal involving Carlos Tevez and Samuel Eto'o, despite profound doubts at the club about the acquisition of a 30-year-old with no Premier League experience and minimal sell-on value.
Mancini knows he faces a tough task persuading the club to trust in his instincts on Eto'o, a player he respects hugely and whose arrival in a deal which would value each player at around £38m would remove all the problems associated with the return to England tomorrow of Tevez.
Mancini openly declared in late June that a swap deal had been considered for the Cameroonian, and there is a view within the club that his decision to do so prompted the statement of July 4 in which Tevez restated his desire to leave City.
Mancini has been toying with the idea of a deal to bring in Eto'o from early in the summer, and resolved to encourage such a move and urge his board to listen to what Inter have to offer if the Italians were keen to do business.
Both players would welcome the swap deal -- Eto'o wants to leave for a final big deal before retirement, while Tevez has long hankered for a move to Italy.
Yet, despite having made a putative move for Eto'o when he was a Barcelona player two years ago, the City board are unlikely to view this as a match made in heaven, with no guarantees that a player in his 30s will be able to adapt quickly to the demands of Premier League football.
Mancini, however, is determined to get his way, having made it clear this summer that he is prepared to push hard for more control over the club's transfer dealings.
"If the manager loses, it's the manager who is sacked, so I think the manager needs to take every decision. If he makes a mistake, he pays for it," he said during the club's pre-season tour in Los Angeles.
Nasri's failure to secure a move now deprives him of the higher salary he covets and -- to his mind -- the prospect of imminent silverware. But he knows he will play every game of the forthcoming season at Arsenal and will thus be able, potentially, to push for a place in France's side in next summer's European Championships, by which time he will be a free agent.
The Frenchman, who always felt Arsenal were a stepping stone for him in England, certainly doesn't seem as desperate to move on as Cesc Fabregas.
Barcelona are expected to increase their offer for Fabregas this week with the money raised from the £3.5m sale of Jeffren Suarez to Sporting Lisbon.
Arsenal will wait until the end of the week to make a decision on whether Fabregas will undertake the journey to Lisbon to play against Benfica in a friendly on Saturday. If he is fit, the midfielder has been told that he will be expected to be on the trip, despite not having played a single game in pre-season so far.
The sale of Suarez is regarded in Spain as another move by Barcelona towards freeing up funds for the acquisition of Fabregas and allowing the club to get as close as possible to Arsenal's £40m valuation.
As ever, Barca remain optimistic that they will get the deal done but Fabregas is scheduled to appear at a members' event at Arsenal tomorrow, where the squad picture for the season will be taken.
Arsenal have expressed an interest in signing Real Madrid's 16-year-old midfielder Jose Rodriguez. (© Independent News Service)