Saturday 16 December 2017

Mancini admits City wealth posing transfer problems

Rory Smith in New York

ROBERTO MANCINI has admitted that the premium price Manchester City are expected to pay for players because of their vast wealth is posing a problem as he tries to build a side capable of challenging for the Premier League title.

The Italian insists the £65m spent on David Silva, Jerome Boateng and Yaya Toure this summer represents good value, despite claims, notably from Alex Ferguson, that prices for high-calibre players -- in no small part due to the riches City possess -- have inflated to the point of absurdity.

But Mancini's hard-line stance that City will not be rushed into deals for Aleksandar Kolarov, Mario Balotelli and James Milner is evidence he is not prepared to be held to ransom despite enjoying the almost bottomless wealth of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

City are believed to be close to completing a £17m deal for Kolarov, the Serbian international currently with Lazio, with sources at the club confident the move will be finalised before Mancini and his players depart New York this weekend.

But the City manager believes that his former club Inter Milan's valuation of Balotelli, the controversial 19-year-old striker, is proving an obstacle to pushing a deal through, while the club's long-awaited move for Milner is under threat because of the price set by Aston Villa, the England international's present employers.

"When Manchester City want to buy a player, other clubs ask much more than is normal," Mancini said at the official launch press conference of the New York Football Challenge. "This is not good and it is not right. Until today, it is only City that are moving the market.

"We have bought three good players already. But now Inter Milan, for example, are asking a lot of money for Mario Balotelli, and we want to wait.

"We are interested in good players like Balotelli and Milner, but we have time before the market closes in August. We have a lot of different choices."

That may be read as a clear warning that City are prepared to look elsewhere if the tax imposed on any would-be purchases is not lowered, but there can be no question that Mancini is especially keen to renew his acquaintance with Balotelli.

Should Balotelli, Kolarov and Milner arrive, the Italian's spending would stand at more than £130m in the last two months alone, in a addition the £200m already spent since Sheikh Mansour's takeover. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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