Transfer Watch: Mancini lines up shock swoop for Inter's Vieira
MANCHESTER City were in advanced discussions last night over a surprise move to bring Patrick Vieira back to the Premier League after Roberto Mancini identified the former Arsenal captain as his first signing for the club.
Although Mancini said yesterday that he would not talk about making additions until after the Carling Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester United tomorrow, talks have taken place over the past 48 hours over a deal to take Vieira (33) on loan from Inter until the end of the season. It is possible that the move could be finalised in time for Vieira to make his City debut at home to Blackburn on Monday.
City are likely to offer Vieira the promise of a permanent contract next season if the arrangement works out for both parties.
Mancini has ruled out the possibility of signing Antonio Cassano, the Sampdoria forward, and has questioned the feasibility of persuading Juventus and Inter to sell Georgio Chiellini and Mario Balotelli respectively. He did, however, acknowledge reports in Italy linking him with moves to sign Christian Chivu and Ivan Cordoba, another two of his mainstays at Inter.
BIRMINGHAM CITY yesterday kicked off the January transfer sales with an £8m bid for Liverpool's Dutch winger Ryan Babel in the first indication that new owner Carson Yeung is ready to back his manager.
Liverpool entered the race to sign Marouane Chamakh last night and were close to an agreement for the services of Maxi Rodriguez.
Chamakh (25) is out of contract at Bordeaux but is free to sign a pre-contract agreement that would enable him to move at the end of this season, with Arsenal expected to renew their interest in the Morocco player.
Rodriguez, is out of contract at Atletico Madrid this summer and wants more first-team football in his bid to claim a place in the Argentina World Cup squad.
Franck Ribery's hopes of leaving Bayern Munich, with Chelsea and Real Madrid interested, have risen after the German club admitted that they are to cut their wage bill. Thomas Sorensen says that he could be tempted to leave Stoke City. The goalkeeper (33) claimed that he has been the subject of offers.
Celtic would like to sign Dave Kitson, who has returned to the Britannia Stadium after three months on loan at Boro.
Blackburn Rovers have given permission for Benni McCarthy, the South Africa striker, to leave.
Lyons are interested in Younes Kabul, the Portsmouth defender.
Won Hee-Cho, the Wigan Athletic midfield player, is to return to Suwon Samsung Bluewings, the South Korean club, on a year loan. (© The Times, London)