Thursday 14 December 2017

Mancini wants City to share his Euro vision

Mark Ogden

Roberto Mancini has underlined his desire for new signings at Manchester City by claiming his current squad is not strong enough to win the Champions League.

The City manager, who struck a conciliatory note towards the club's hierarchy by insisting they should no longer pay excessive fees for transfer targets, has yet to add to the squad who delivered the Premier League title to the Etihad Stadium last season.

While the Italian admits the priority this season is to retain the title and progress merely to the knockout stages of the Champions League, he insists that his recent calls for reinforcements have been rooted in his determination to elevate City from European also-rans to contenders for the club football's premier competition.

Moves for Arsenal captain Robin van Persie and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javi Martinez have yet to make progress, while Mancini retains a serious interest in Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi.

Speaking in Kuala Lumpur during City's tour of the Far East, Mancini admitted that building on last season's success is crucial if the club are to become European heavyweights.

"After my first scudetto with Inter Milan, the idea was to defend the title and that should be our target this year," Mancini said. "Our target for the Champions League should be to go for the second stage after the group.

"If we go well in the Champions League, there could also be a chance that we can arrive in the quarter, semi-final or final. We will try to win it and it is important, for this, that we have a good squad. But I don't think we can play for the Champions League with this squad. That is my opinion, so for this reason we have to buy."

Mancini's frustrations with protracted transfer pursuits are nothing new, with a similar complaint being aired by the manager last season before the £24m purchase of Samir Nasri from Arsenal.

The former Inter coach has been told that fringe players must be sold before new signings are made and, having spent huge sums on transfers since the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan's takeover in September 2008, that City are now determined only to pay market prices, rather than inflated fees, to land top targets.

"I don't think that (the problem) is that the club don't want to spend," Mancini said. "But it is not easy when Manchester City try to buy a player. The club we are buying from asks for 30 or 40 per cent more.

"I know our strategy because we have talked about this a lot of times. But now we are only two weeks before the (Community Shield) game with Chelsea and three weeks before the season starts and now we need to bring the players."

City were crowned champions despite the Carlos Tevez saga, during which the Argentinian forward spent almost five months in dispute with the club -- three of which were taken as unauthorised leave in Buenos Aires.

Mancini insists, though, that Tevez has since returned with a new attitude and that the pair can now work together. "Carlos has another two years on his contract, but I don't think I can change him," Mancini said. "Maybe I can change Mario Balotelli, because he is young, but you can't change older players."

Of more immediate concern for Mancini is the fitness of Vincent Kompany who has flown home for treatment on a calf injury. The problem is not thought to be serious.

Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere will not return from injury until at least October, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed.

Gunners boss Wenger had been unwilling to set a comeback date for the England midfielder, who has already been out for a year with ankle and knee problems.

However, speaking in Asia where Arsenal are on a pre-season tour, Wenger said: "Hopefully, we will get Wilshere back playing for October. With Abou Diaby returning, it will be like signing two new players. This season, the squad will be strong and competitive."

Wilshere, who will reportedly resume light training next month, underwent a procedure on his knee in May, having missed the whole of last season with an ankle problem. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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