Monday 19 February 2018

Mancini aims for reunion with £55m man Ibrahimovic

Rory Smith

Manchester City have been placed on red alert after it emerged that Barcelona may allow Zlatan Ibrahimovic to leave the Nou Camp less than a year after he moved to Spain in a deal worth £55m.

Roberto Mancini, who coached the Swedish international for two years at Inter Milan, has made no secret of his desire to be reunited with the forward. He admitted in January that the pair had always enjoyed "a rapport of great loyalty".

Mancini had identified Ibrahimovic, along with his former Inter team-mate Maicon, the Brazil right-back, as a primary target for the summer transfer market should City ensure qualification for the Champions League. Despite their failure to secure fourth place, Ibrahimovic may be a realistic option after his future at Barcelona was thrown into doubt.

The Swede has been a qualified success in Spain, scoring 16 goals in 29 appearances, and Barcelona president Joan Laporta has offered assurances that the club are "very happy" with the striker's debut campaign.

However, the imminent arrival of David Villa, the Valencia striker, has called into question whether Ibrahimovic will remain at Barcelona for a second season.

Tim Cahill says he would be happy to remain at Everton for the rest of his career after signing a four-year contract extension which ties him to Goodison Park until he is 34.

The Australia international, a £1.5m signing from Millwall in 2004, had two years left on his existing deal but manager David Moyes and chairman Bill Kenwright had made it a priority to secure his long-term future. "The chairman knows my thoughts," said Cahill. "I will sign here for life."

The chances of David James joining Tottenham diminished yesterday when goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini signed a new contract at White Hart Lane. Cudicini (36) who injured his pelvis and fractured both wrists when his motorbike collided with a car last November, is now back in training.

Chelsea's Portugal international midfielder Deco has held talks with Fluminense over a return to his native Brazil next season.

West Ham, meanwhile, have rejected bids from Fulham, Birmingham City and Stoke City for striker Carlton Cole (26). It is understood that all the offers have fallen well short of the £15m West Ham want for the player.

Cole arrived from Chelsea for £1m in the summer of 2006 and has developed into an England international, although he missed out on Fabio Capello's 30-strong provisional World Cup squad. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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