Friday 19 January 2018

Mancini building towards destruction of old order

Aguero won't be last glamour name drawn to bright lights of Eastlands, writes Dion Fanning

'A lot can happen in the next few days," Roberto Mancini said at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night. He was sitting beside his latest signing Sergio Aguero, who was further proof that a lot can happen any time at the modern Manchester City.

City are not finished yet. Mancini made that clear on Friday, but he had no need to. There may be some business done in Dublin this weekend if Inter and City can get in a room and work out exactly what Carlos Tevez is worth. Following their reserve side's victory against the Airtricity XI yesterday, City sources ruled out any swap deal involving Samuel Eto'o. They are believed to want £50m in cash for Tevez.

Tevez needs to be closer to Argentina in his existential pursuit of happiness. He is, at least, determined to prove that money doesn't make you happy, no matter what they pay him. Whether his advisors agree with him on this philosophical point is debatable.

Aguero has not talked with Tevez about his move to City, saying his compatriot "needed a rest" and even talk, when you are wrestling with the meaning of life, can be taxing. Aguero insisted he hadn't considered other offers, even though the suggestion from his father-in-law Diego Maradona and others that Real Madrid was his preference remains.

He insisted there was a great awareness of Manchester City in Argentina, although he broadened it to talk about an interest in English clubs. "Manchester City is a growing team and I hope to be part of that growth."

There will be others making them grow and making the old order uncomfortable. City's deal with Etihad looks like it is clever enough to avoid any UEFA sanction but their pursuit of players will still upset others. Samir Nasri remains a target. Mancini refused to elaborate on the two players he hopes to sign.

"We need players to change our squad. I think this year we have a big chance because it's the first time we play Champions League and if we can find two more players like Sergio, like (Gael) Clichy, it will be very good for us. I know who we want. I can say who but maybe other managers will be angry."

Arsene Wenger was angry the last time Mancini spoke about Nasri, but he will be angrier if the deal comes off. Wenger said that retaining at least one of Nasri or Cesc Fabregas was essential to Arsenal's view of itself as a big club.

City's ambitions are limitless. Today's game against Inter will be an opportunity for Mancini to test the depth of his squad, even if it's without Aguero. In a corner of the room on Friday evening, the Dublin Super Cup's PR men practised all they had learnt at PR school as Mancini announced that Aguero was unlikely to play this weekend. They looked straight ahead and gave no indication that this was a blow to their plans. Privately, the organisers say they are still hopeful that Aguero will make an appearance this afternoon, when City field a strong side for the game against their manager's old club.

Mancini was greeted by old friends in the press room on Friday but, despite saying last week that he needed more control over transfers, Aguero's signing seems to have been a purchase everyone at City can agree on. "I am happy to have good players," Mancini said. There wasn't much happiness around the Airtricity XI last week. The shoddy way in which the League of Ireland players taking part were treated by the FAI gave many of those who question the tournament further grounds for complaint.

There is nothing wrong with the public delighting in the arrival of Inter Milan, Celtic and Manchester City in Dublin. There may not be that many of them delighting, given that ticket prices have been cut, but the League of Ireland players aren't competition winners. They deserved to be treated with the same respect as anybody else playing. Instead they were viewed by the FAI as Mancini viewed Mario Balotelli after his back-heel last weekend.

The FAI's sensitivity to bad press has now become bad press in itself. On Friday, they issued some of their beloved corrections, insisting that they had not refused to allow Des Cahill to conduct an interview because he had questioned John Delaney's salary. It was now a legal matter. Refusing to talk to Des Cahill is a bit like forbidding your children to read Gentle Ben because playing with bears is dangerous.

The FAI insisted that there were other, more important reasons for them attempting to control with whom they will speak. Perhaps they should have nominated Brian Carthy as an approved interviewer and all problems would have been solved.

The Super Cup itself is a necessity for the association as they try to find a way out of debt. They, too, could do with a Sheikh Mansour. City are making the most of theirs, even if all of the bounty won't be displayed today.

Mancini knows that as long as they have the means to make things happen, Manchester City can do a lot when things get serious.

Sunday Indo Sport

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport