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Manchester City’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

What a season it was for Manchester City!! On a dramatic final day of the season, the Blues went on to win the Premier League for the first time in 44 years but were very disappointing in Europea – both the Champions League and the Europa League.

This summer, Roberto Mancini has not signed any player yet but is expected to sign a couple of big players before the start of the season to strengthen the squad. With the Citizens having won the Premier League in the previous season, their aim for the upcoming season will not only be to defend their title but also put in a good performance in Europe ie atleast reach the the quarter-finals or the semi-finals of the Champions League. Here are Manchester City’s potential summer transfer targets..

JACK BUTLAND – BIRMINGHAM CITY (GOALKEEPER)

The 19-year-old English keeper was the part of the England squad for the UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine. The Birmingham City stopper – who spent the previous season on loan at Cheltenham Town – has impressed the England coaching staff and Joe Hart has urged City to try to sign him. However, the young keeper who is in the Great Britain squad for the upcoming Olympics, wants to sign for a club where he will be assured regular first team football so that he can progress and reach his potential. That looks highly impossible at City, but they could sign him and loan him away immediately to another Premier League or Championship club.

FABRICO COLOCCINI – NEWCASTLE UNITED (DEFENDER)

Roberto Mancini is reportedly trying to sign players that will strengthen his backline and the Argentine defender from St. James Park is said to be on his shopping list. Coloccini was at his best last season as he helped Newcastle finish fifth in the league, above Chelsea, and qualify for the Europa League. Coloccini will be a great good addition to the squad and will also add the necessary competition for places at the back. The 30-year-old has recently signed a new deal at Newcastle but the lure of Champions League football and winning titles will be very hard to reject.

STEFAN RADU – LAZIO (DEFENDER)

Stefan Radu is another name mentioned around the Etihad Stadium for the past couple of months. The 25-year-old Romanian has been in impressive form for Lazio since arriving in Rome, in 2008. His performances has attracted interest from many clubs across Europe. The 6ft centre-back, who can also play as a left-back, will be a great addition to the City squad and will also strengthen their defence which looked very vulnerable in the absence of Vincent Kompany. City will tough face some competition for his signature as Arsenal and Tottenham are also said to be interested in him.

MARTIN SKRTEL – LIVERPOOL (DEFENDER)

Stefan Savic looked vulnerable as a cover and with Joleon Lescott ageing, another centre-back is a need for City after their league winning season. According to the reports, Martin Skrtel is one of the transfer targets of the club. The 27-year-old was Liverpool best man last season, having featured in every league game. The arrival of the Slovakian, who is rated around £20m, will be a great addition to the squad and will no doubt strengthen the defence. The transfer might also see Lescott leave the club and head in the opposite direction.

THIAGO SILVA – AC MILAN (DEFENDER)

Manchester City being interested in Thiago Silva is no news as its been going on since the start of the summer. Reports in various UK papers claimed that Mancini met the Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri in May to discuss a possible deal for the £42m rated Brazilian defender but nothing as ever materialized. Some reports in the past month suggested that the 27-year-old could snub interested from City and join Paris Saint-Germain but he also squashed all those rumours by signing a new deal at the San Siro.

DANIELE DE ROSSI – AS ROMA (MIDFIELDER)

Its a well known fact that Roberto Mancini is a huge fan of Daniele De Rossi and with Nigel De Jong linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium, the Italian, who starred for the UEFA EURO 2012 finalists in Poland/Ukraine this summer, may well join his compatriot in Manchester. The 28-year-old, who recently signed a new five year deal with the Serie A side, has said he is ready to try his hand in different league having played in the Serie A for more than 11 years. De Rossi would be a huge addition to City midfield, who are set to lose Yaya Toure in January due to the African Cup of Nations.

JAVI MARTINEZ – ATHLETIC BILBAO (MIDFIELDER)

With Nigel De Jong’s future doubtful and Yaya Toure’s international commitments during the mid-season, City reportedly are preparing a £25m offer for Athletic Bilbao’s Spanish international. Javi Martinez, who can also play as a holding midfielder or as a centre-back, has been attracting a lot of interest from many European clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich after an excellent season with the Europa League finalists. Martinez will be real coup for the champions but they are set to face some tough competition from Barcelona, who are said to be the favourites to land him.

GASTON RAMIREZ – BOLOGNA (MIDFIELDER)

Ramirez, 21, is an attacking central midfielder with an eye for goal and was impressive for his Serie A side during last season. Ramirez is rated around £16m by his Italian club and has attracted interest from many European clubs in the past one year with Manchester City, Liverpool and Juventus being one of them. The midfielder who scored eight times last season would be a great signing for future and at the same time would provide good cover for David Silva and Samir Nasri.

WESLEY SNEIJDER – INTER MILAN (MIDFIELDER)

Sneijder has been linked with a move to the Red side of Manchester for the past couple of seasons but now City are the favourites to land him. Mancini has been looking at various different attacking midfield options since Hazard snubbed the Citizens to join Chelsea and signing Sneijder would be like putting salt on the wounds of Manchester United, who have spent more than 2 season in trying to sign him. The Dutch international would no doubt strengthen the team but he would cost more than £30m and his form since the World Cup has been very disappointing.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE – ARSENAL (STRIKER)

Along with Juventus, Manchester City are the favourites to sign the Arsenal skipper, Robin van Persie, who has said that he won’t be signing a new deal at the Emirates Stadium. Van Persie was in some outstanding goal scoring form last season and ended the league season as the Premier League’s top goal scorer with 30 goals. With Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Edin Dzeko set to leave during the summer, there is place for Van Persie in the squad. With just one year left on the 28-year-old’s contract, the Gunners are expected to cash in on the forward this summer and an offer around £16m-£20m may well be accepted.

GONZALO HIGUAIN – REAL MADRID (STRIKER)

The Argentine is one of the most hottest property available in European football this season. Higuain has scored 22 La Liga in just 18 starts last season and yet he is second choice at Madrid behind Karim Benzema. The 24-year-old was linked with a move to Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain at the start of the summer but nothing at all developed. Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has stated his intend to keep Higuain at the Bernabeu for many more seasons but a chance to play in the Premier League and alongside his Argentina teammates Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta may be too hard to reject.

EDINSON CAVANI – NAPOLI (STRIKER)

Along with Robin van Persie and Gonzalo Higuain, Manchester City are also keeping tabs on the inform Napoli striker Edinson Cavani. If the 25-year-old Uruguayan was unknown to English football then he made himself known by scoring against both Chelsea and Manchester City in the Champions League last season. Cavani has been tremendous goal scoring form since joining Napoli in 2010, having scored 66 times in 94 league matches. The strong forward would be a marquee signing for the club but the Premier League champions face competition for his signature from Serie A champions Juventus, who are also interested in him.

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Top Ten Strikers To Replace Drogba At Chelsea

It’s been less than 4 days since Drogba scored the two most important goals in Chelsea’s history which won them their first ever Champions League title, now the club and the striker have confirmed that the striker won’t be signing a new contract and will leave in the summer.

Actually, the news didn’t come as a surprise to many as it was quite rumoured since January that the striker won’t be signing a new deal at the club and will be moving on in the summer. In fact it’s the perfect time for the Ivorian to call it and end to his Stamford Bridge career as he will be leaving the club on a high note after guiding them to their first ever European success.

Now, it’s time for Chelsea to move forward and begin to search for the player who will fill in Drogba’s shoes at the club.It would be very difficult for the club to find some one like Drogba – who has done a lot for the Blues both on and off the field – but they will have to do their best to find an ideal replacement. Here, we look at the ten players who could replace the Ivorian at the club.

10. Papiss Cisse/Demba Ba (Newcastle United)

They both were unheard of in England before they joined Newcastle United and now they both are very well known throughout the world. They both have been a revelation for Newcastle this season helping them finish 5th in the league above Chelsea and securing a Europa League spot for the next season. Demba Ba has scored 16 goals this season, while Cisse has 13 to his name and both would perfectly fit in the Chelsea squad of superstars. But the move down to South looks unlikely this season as Alan Pardew would be very reluctant to let any one of them leave this summer, especially after qualifying for Europe.

9. Andre Schurrle (Bayer Leverkusen)

At only 21 years old, Andre Schurrle is a future star of German football. Despite his age he already has 12 international caps, notching up an impressive five goals in the process, and is expected to be Lukas Podolski’s understudy in Poland and Ukraine this summer. Chelsea are known to be interested, but he has only signed for Bayer Leverkusen in 2011, so it’s unlikely the German side would let him go unless the Blues pay above the odds.

8. Luuk De Jong (FC Twente) 

With 43 goals in 62 games for FC Twente, Luuk de Jong is one of the most prolific young strikers in European football. By the time he finished his 23rd league game for the Dutch side this year he had averaged a goal per game, including goals with both feet and his head, leading him to be linked with a series of big European sides like Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Inter Milan etc to name a few. De Jong does come from one of the weaker European Leagues however, so it would be risky to put too much faith in him from Chelsea’s perspective, but at the same time players coming from the Dutch league like Robin van Persie, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Dirk Kuyt have flourished in the Premier League.

7. Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli)

The Argentine is not as prolific in front of goal as his team-mate Edinson Cavani, but arguably more spectacular. Lavezzi is one of the jewels in Napoli’s crown. The Agrentine has been a success story for Napoli since join the newly crowned Copa Italia winners. Known for flourishing in a strike partnership, Lavezzi could be a brilliant foil to Torres. There have also been rumours about a fall out with current club president and the club have confirmed that the player may leave him if his buy-out clause of €31m is met.

6. Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid)

He has fallen down in the pecking order at Real Madrid just because Karim Benzema is playing so well. The Argentine is a real goal scoring threat and at just 24-years he is still has plenty of time to develop into one of the best strikers in the world. He has all the skill you want in a striker and has loads of experience at the highest level considering his age. He has already scored 103 goals in 220 matches for the La Liga champions during his six years at the club. The former River Plate striker’s future at the Bernabeau is in doubt. PSG and Chelsea rumoured to be the possible destination if he decides to leave the club.

5. Hulk (FC Porto)

He has been linked with a move to Chelsea for years now but nothing ever has materialized. This season again with Andre Villas-Boas coming in rumours were high but they went off when the transfer window closed but now again the rumours have started again and some papers also go on to state that the two clubs have agreed a fee and the Blues are in advanced talks with the player. Whether its true or not remains to be seen. Speaking about the player, the Brazilian is known for his physical presence and goals from the wing, but after failing to shine against English clubs in the past, the Blues may have concerns over his suitability to the English game.

4. Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao)

The 27-year-old target man has been Athletic Bilbao’s star this season with 29 goals in all competitions. The 6ft 5in striker has been key in Bilbao’s success in the Europa League this season, which saw they reach the final of the tournament only to be beaten by Atletico Madrid. On their way to final they defeated Manchester United both at home and away and Llorente scored important goals in both the legs. The Bilbao youth academy player has also attracted interest from the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham, so if Chelsea want to sign him they will face some stiff competition and will have to sign him before the Euros or else could risk being priced out.

3. Edinson Cavani (Napoli)

The war for Edinson Cavani’s signature rages on, with Chelsea understandably desperate to grab him after his performances against them in the Champions League. A deal to bring both the Uruguayan and strike-partner Lavezzi together would be ideal, but realistically it would be a difficult move to orchestrate for any club. City are thought to be leading the race for Cavani currently as they are ready offer him huge wages, so Chelsea will need to pull out the stops to ensure that the man who has scored 33 goals for Napoli this season doesn’t end up at the Etihad.

2. Falcao (Atletico Madrid)

If the Colombian striker was a hit at Porto then he has been super-hit at Atletico Madrid this season. The striker who was linked with a move to Stamford Bridge last summer before signing the Red and White side of Madrid, has scored 36 goals this season for the Los Colchoneros and is only behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the goal scoring list. The former River Plate striker has won the Europa League twice in two season and has scored in both the finals. According to reports in England, he is Chelsea’s number one target to replace Drogba but the European champions will have to pay as much as £50m to acquire his services who still has four years left on his contract.

1. Fernando Torres/Romelu Lukaku/Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea)

Torres is a natural successor to Didier Drogba that Chelsea have got. The £50m striker hasn’t yet justified his price tag and maybe this could be the perfect opportunity for him to rise to occasion and come out from the shadows of Drogba. The Ivorian himself has tipped Torres to be the future and it could be true as we all know that the Spaniard has immense of talent and potential in him to become the next Chelsea legend. The Blues already have young talented strikers in their squad in Romelu Lukaku and Daniel Sturridge. The European champions with the help of a good coach could develop the duo while Torres becomes the main man at the club to fill in the big shoes of Didier Drogba.

Chelsea’s Expected Summer Departures & Top Ten Transfer Targets

By Chelsea’s standard this season has been a disappointment. With the Blues currently two points off the pace in the race for fourth spot in the Premier League, Roberto Di Matteo’s men are staring at the prospect of missing out on Champions League football next season. And while they are into the semifinals of both the FA Cup and the Champions League, Chelsea could well end the season trophy-less—for the second successive year.

A massive overhaul of the squad is needed and if rumours are to be believed then Roman Abramovich is finally ready do it this summer.  A huge clear-out is expected at the Stamford Bridge along with many new players joining the club, with the Russian ready to give his new manager a huge transfer budget. Here, Into The Top Corner looks at the expected departures this summer and also Chelsea’s top ten transfer targets.

Expected Departures

1. Didier Drogba

Has been Chelsea’s key performer since his arrival in the summer of 2004 from Marseille, but at 34 years old he is not getting any younger and his time at the club is coming to an end. The Ivorian who has scored just 5 goals in 19 Premier League games this season is out of contract at the end of the season. With the huge wage demands of the striker it is highly unlikely a new contract will be agreed.

2. Salomon Kalou

The Ivorian played a vital part in securing the 2nd place in the Premier League last season under Carlo Ancelotti, but he has been hardly used this season, especially by Andre Villas-Boas after the player failing to agree a contract extension with club. Kalou, who joined the Blues from Feyenoord in 2006, started in both the legs of the Champions League quarter-final win over Benfica but is expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer having made just 15 appearances all season.

3. Paulo Ferreira

He was one of the first signings of Jose Mourinho when ‘The Special One’ took over as the manager. But since the departure of Mourinho and the arrivals of Juliano Belletti, Branislav Ivanovic and Jose Bosingwa to Stamford Bridge, Paulo Ferreira has fallen down in the pecking order but whenever given a chance he has always delivered a solid performance. Having featured just 6 times this season in all competitions the Portuguese is surely expected to leave the club in search of some regular first team action.

4. Florent Malouda

The Frenchman performed really well under Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti but has fallen down in the pecking order behind Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge this season. With more than half of his appearances this season coming from the bench, the Blues will look to sell him this season and make some money before his contract expires at the end of next season.

5. Raul Meireles

Joined the Blues on deadline day this summer from Liverpool for a transfer fee in the region of £12m. Played very well in first half of the season under Andre Villas-Boas, but since the departure of AVB in March, Meireles’ form has gone missing. Many Chelsea fans have come out and criticized his performances in the Premier League especially in the match against Manchester City at the Etihad.

6. Jose Bosingwa

A big-money arrival in 2008, Jose Bosingwa has failed to make a long-term impact on the starting XI. The right back has shown stretches of being an excellent footballer, but his lack of consistency will be the reason why he is likely to depart. He has made 24 league appearances this season but regular lapses of concentration has resulted him in conceding some vital goals. His refusal to sign a contract extension will most probably see him leave this summer for nothing.

7. Yossi Benayoun

Joined the club in the summer of last season from Liverpool as a straight forward replacement for Joe Cole. Benayoun started the season impressively but a bad injury kept him out for almost the entire campaign. He was loaned to Arsenal at the start of this season as he was not needed at the club any more after the arrival of Juan Mata from Valencia and the return of Daniel Sturridge from Bolton. The Israeli is set to have talks on his future with Chelsea sooner than later but is expected to leave the club.

8. Hilario

Not much analysis required here. Hilario has served as Petr Cech’s backup since 2006 and has only appeared in 20 games over that stretch. Now 35, Hilario can look to finish up his career as a starter for a less-reputable club.

9. Romelu Lukaku (Loan)

Having made just 10 appearances for the club this season since his big money move from Anderlecht in the summer, the teenage is expected to spend the next season out on loan to gain some vital first team experience. With reports suggesting talks have already taken place, the Belgium international looks set to be on his way back to Anderlecht for atleast a season.

Top 10 Transfer Targets

1. Mario Gotze (Dortmund)

Gotze is one of the hottest properties in world football at the moment with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona all interested in his services. Having just signed a new long-term contract and Dortmund favourites to retain the Bundesliga title this season, a move away from Westfalenstadion looks highly impossible and it would take a huge amount of money to make that happen.

2. Edinson Cavani (Napoli)

The Uruguayan has already scored 28 goals this season and has been linked with move away from Napoli to Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City all season. Chelsea are in need of a regular goal-scorer given that Didier Drogba’s contract is set to run out this summer and Fernando Torres is still unable to make a consistent impact. Cavani could be the perfect man to fill the Ivorian’s shoes at Stamford Bridge.

3. Eden Hazard (Lille)

The young Belgium playmaker is set to leave Ligue 1 at the end of this season and that will sparkle a transfer scramble with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter all interested in him. Hazard, who has 16 goals and 12 assists to his name this season, could be a great long term successor for Frank Lampard.

4. Alvaro Pereira (Porto)

Uruguayan international wing back has been a very impressive and a consistent performer at FC Porto since his move to Portugal in 2009. Andre Villas-Boas tried to get the defender with him to Chelsea last summer but the Portuguese champions rejected the move. The former CFR Cluj defender has stayed on Chelsea’s radar is looked at as a possible long-term replacement for Ashley Cole.

5. Cesar Azpilicueta (Marseille)

Spain Under-23 international is one of the most promising right-backs in Europe. He would be a welcome addition to the Chelsea squad, as current first-choice right-back Branislav Ivanovic often struggles to link up with the attack and his deputy Jose Bosingwa is struggling to rediscover his form and is expected to leave this summer.

6. Luka Modric (Tottenham) 

Tottenham playmaker was continuously linked to a move to Chelsea last summer but the Spurs hierarchy, however, stood its ground and refused to sell their prize asset. Despite having failed to reproduce last season’s form so far, Modric is still a much-needed addition to the Chelsea squad and will surely leave White Hart Lane if Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League next season.

7. Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid)

He may be in great form this season having scored 24 goals so far, but he is still just a back-up option behind Karim Benzema & Cristiano Ronaldo for former Blues’ boss Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. A move to London and the regular first-team football could be a tempting offer to rejected for the Argentina striker.

8. Hulk (Porto)

The strong and pacey Porto striker who can also play on both the wings and has been linked to a move to the Premier League for some time now, is apparently high up on Abramovich’s shopping list for the summer. But clearly the Portuguese champions would have reduce the Brazilian’s reported £88m release clause fee if they want any deal to be done between the two clubs.

9. Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli)

The Argentine international has been Napoli’s star performer this season along side Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani. The versatile forward who can also play on both the wings performed well against Chelsea in the Champions League scoring twice in the first leg. The 26-year-old who has scored 11 goals this season will be a very good addition to the Chelsea squad.

10. Falcao (Atletico Madrid)

The Colombian, who was linked with a move to Stamford Bridge last summer when Andre Villas-Boas took charge of the club, has taken to life in La Liga very well, netting 21 goals in the league this season. But as Atletico Madrid are unlikely to secure a spot in the Champions League a move to Chelsea may well appeal to the 26 year old former Porto striker.

Three Signings That Will Make Liverpool Great Again

Liverpool struggles in the Premier League this year continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Anfield by Aston Villa today. Into The Top Corner looks at the three possible signings (all three players are linked to the Reds this year) that Kenny Dalglish must sign if he is trusted with another transfer war chest this summer.

1. Stephane Sessesgnon – Sunderland –> £7-10m

The Benin ace has flourished at the Stadium of Light under Martin O’Neill, scoring five goals since the turn of the year. And Kenny Dalglish is said to among his admirers along with Tottenham, Arsenal and Sessegnon’s former club Paris-Saint Germain also interested. Sessesgnon who can play on both the wings and also in the center could be a very good signing for the Reds who lack a winger a who can create and score goals.

2. Pedro Rodriguez – Barcelona –> £10-15m

Anfield boss Kenny Dalglish is a known admirer of the 24-year-old forward and was said to have made enquiries about the player’s availability during the January transfer window. The Spanish international – who scored the first goal in the last season’s Champions League final win over Manchester United – has suffered injury and a dip in form this season, which has seen him drop behind Alexis Sanchez in Pep Guardiola’s plans, and his place looks further threatened by the emergence of young stars such as Cristian Tello and Isaac Cuenca. Pedro will fit in very well in the team and will also unite with his compatriots Pepe Reina and Jose Enrique.

3. Edinson Cavani – Napoli –> £24-30m

The Uruguayan has been in impressive form this season having scored 28 goals in all competitions. The highly-coveted 25-year-old is also high on City and Chelsea’s wishlist and it will some huge money for the Reds to bring him to Anfield. A move to Liverpool will see him partner his international buddy Luis Suarez. After Liverpool’s record in front of goal this season, Cavani is the right kind of man Liverpool need as his goal-scoring record since arriving in Italy has been very impressive.