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Mancini urges City to loosen purse strings

Roberto Mancini wants the Manchester City hierarchy to sanction a January move into the transfer market to avoid the club's title bid being derailed by a player shortage, which could be exacerbated by captain Vincent Kompany missing four games through suspension.

City will discover today whether Kompany, sent off during the FA Cup defeat against Manchester United on Sunday, will miss both legs of the Carling Cup semi-final against Liverpool and Premier League fixtures against Wigan and Tottenham.

They have lodged an appeal against the red card issued by referee Chris Foy for a foul on Nani.

All the signs were pointing to it failing, though.

City must prove that referee Chris Foy made a "serious and obvious error" in dismissing Kompany, though given that Wolves failed to get Nenad Milijas' red overturned after what looked like a relatively innocuous challenge on Mikel Arteta last month, the prospects of a reprieve appear to be thin.

The FA's fast-track procedure means City are likely to know the outcome by this afternoon and can begin preparing for tomorrow's Carling Cup semi-final against Liverpool without Kompany.

Mancini claimed that Wayne Rooney influenced Foy's decision to send off Kompany, an accusation that the United forward rejected on Twitter yesterday.

United manager Alex Ferguson also defended his player's actions.

"I can understand where Roberto (Mancini) was coming from because that's what happens with players today," Ferguson said. "They all appeal for penalties and for players to be sent off. It is an unfortunate part of the game.

"But I don't have any complaints about Wayne. I don't think it was unacceptable what he did. I think it was a natural reaction to a bad challenge from an opponent."

City have challenged Foy's decision, even though an additional game could be added to Kompany's suspension should today's disciplinary panel regard the appeal as 'frivolous'.

The defender already faces an extra game on the standard three-match ban for serious foul play because it was his second dismissal this season. He received two yellow cards against Wolves in October.

The potential loss of the Belgian centre-half until next month has added to Mancini's concerns over the depth of his squad during a demanding period.

He is already without Ivory Coast internationals Yaya and Kolo Toure because of the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on January 21.

Kompany's absence, should his appeal be unsuccessful, will leave City without their two most experienced centre-backs.

Joleon Lescott and Stefan Savic are the only specialist central defenders available to Mancini.

Having been told he must sell before he can buy as the club aims to meet Uefa's Financial Fair Play regulations, the City manager expressed his concerns about his inability to add to his squad.

"Every time I say I need a player, we have a problem." Mancini said. "But Real Madrid and Barca have been the best teams in Europe for a long time and they still buy players."

Mancini remains keen to tempt Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi to the Etihad Stadium to ease the loss of Yaya Toure, who had started every Premier League game this season before reporting for international duty on Saturday.

De Rossi is available for £5m as his contract expires in six months, but weekly wages of more than £200,000 are providing an obstacle.

Roma manager Luis Enrique has made it clear that the Serie A club are determined to retain the Italy international.

"There is a negotiation between the club and the player," Enrique said. "It's up to him to decide and I think he will stay. He is a very important to us. I don't like the idea of thinking about Roma without him."

Mancini's frustrations with City's stance on new purchases is similar to those he voiced during the summer, when he spoke about his displeasure at the slow rate of progress on moves for Samir Nasri and Savic, though both were resolved before the transfer deadline.

Finances could be released should Carlos Tevez, Wayne Bridge and Nedum Onuoha be sold as expected, but Mancini is keen to avoid waiting until the final week of the transfer window to add to his squad.

Dedryck Boyata, on loan with Bolton Wanderers, could be recalled to ease the defensive problems after Bolton manager Owen Coyle admitted City have the option to take back the 21-year-old Belgian this month. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent