Tag Archives: Thiago Silva

Five Possible Destinations For Mario Balotelli

Balo-Destinations

Mario Balotelli’s relationship with Manchester City is in hot waters after his decision to take the club to a tribunal over disciplinary fines and that could leave the club with no choice but offload him in January.

The Italian striker has earned himself an infamous reputation in his short spell at the Etihad Stadium – his indiscipline on and off the field and his inconsistent form could catalyze a move away from Eastlands in the upcoming January transfer window. Here we have a look at the five possible destinations for the Italian star.

1. Inter Milan

Many newspapers across the UK have reported that the Inter owner Massimo Moratti is keen to bring back Balotelli to the club where he spent three prolific years before his big money move to Manchester. The 22-year-old is rumoured to be suffering from homesickness and has also been spotted several times this season in the stands at the San Siro. A move back to Inter will be the best thing for Italian as he will be back home.

2. AC Milan

Since the Rossoneri sold Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to PSG in the summer, they have not been the same force of the old and are now 17 points behind leaders Juventus in the Serie A. Chief executive Adriano Galliani is an admirer of the volatile forward and has pondered a possible bid for him. Whether it’s a temporary loan move or a full transfer back to the San Siro, Balotelli would probably prefer a homecoming with a new challenge.

3. Paris Saint-Germain

Where there is a world-class player, there is PSG transfer rumour. The French capital club had a bid rejected for striker in the summer, but it looks highly unlikely that the reigning Premier League champions would rejected another offer for the striker, low in the pecking order, should it be made again in January. Super Mario would no doubt take the Ligue 1 by storm, but the move would certainly upset PSG’s current alpha male, Ibrahimovic.

4. Real Madrid

Elsewhere, Madrid boss Jose Mourinho is another admirer of the City striker since he was at Inter and was reportedly considering a move for him this summer. Perhaps now he could reignite his interested to lure Balotelli to the Bernabeu, but I doubt it will happen. The former Chelsea and Inter boss wouldn’t want to rock the Madrid boat that is already edging closer to capsizing as it is.

5. Fulham

The outsiders are the West London club Fulham. Boss Martin Jol has expressed his admiration and interest in the Italian striker but that the Cottagers would find it ‘impossible’ to lure him to Craven Cottage and afford him. Perhaps Mancini would consider sending Balotelli to Craven Cottage on loan for the rest of the season and keep an eye on him. But I doubt Mario will give Fulham a consideration.

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A Complete Guide To The Final 16 Teams Of The Champions League

UCL-Draw

Manchester United and Arsenal, the only two remaining English sides, will be looking to avoid the big guns in the draw for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, which takes place in Nyon (Switzerland) on Thursday 10:30am GMT.

Manchester United qualified as Group H winners and so are seeded in the draw but they still could be drawn against the big sides, while Arsenal finished as runners-up and like United could face the top guns especially Barcelona (third time in the past four seasons) in the knockout stages. On the other hand, Chelsea became the first holders to be eliminated in the group stages, while Manchester City were completely knocked out of Europe as they ended bottom of their group.

Group Winners: Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke, Malaga, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Group Runners-Up: Porto, Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic, Galatasaray

Below we have a look at each of the above 16 teams in detail..

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Country: France
Coach:
Carlo Ancelotti
Key Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Other Star Players: Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi & Javier Pastore
Rising Star: Marco Verratti
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Semi-final 1995
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic, Galatasaray
Chances: PSG are one of the richest clubs in the world and have ambitions to win the Champions League this term. If striker Ibrahimovic can continue his superb form from the group stages, it might just happen.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

SCHALKE 04

Country: Germany
Coach:
 Jens Keller
Key Player: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Other Star Players: Benedikt Howedes, Lewis Holtby & Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Rising Star: Julian Draxler
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Semi-final 2011
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, AC Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk, Galatasary, Valencia, Celtic, Real Madrid
Chances: The Germans were unbeaten through their group which consisted the likes of Arsenal, Olympiakos and Montpellier, which shows they are not a team to be taken for granted. One their day they could upset the big guns.
Prediction: Round of 16

MALAGA

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Manuel Pellengrini
Key Player: Isco
Other Star Players: Joaquin, Martin Demichelis & Eliseu
Rising Star: Francisco Portillo
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Debutants
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic, Galatasaray
Chances: Have been very impressive so far in their debut season in the Champions League, but their inexperience in the competition may prove costly in the knockout stages.
Prediction: Round of 16

BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Country: Germany
Coach:
 Jurgen Klopp
Key Player: Marco Reus
Other Star Players: Roberto Lewandowski, Mats Hummels & Mario Gotze
Rising Star: Moritz Leitner
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1997
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Arsenal, AC Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic,Galatasaray
Chances: The reigning Bundesliga champions have very much caught the eye in the group stages after finishing at top of the Group of Death and are the team to beat. Considered as the dark horses for the title.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

JUVENTUS

Country: Italy
Coach:
 Antonio Conte
Key Player: Arturo Vidal
Other Star Players: Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon & Giorgio Chiellini
Rising Star: Paul Pogba
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1985, 1996
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Valencia, Celtic, Galatasaray
Chances: The reigning Serie A champions remained unbeaten in the group stages and topped their group by winning on the final matchday. The Italians are expected to step it up when the competition resumes in February.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

BAYERN MUNICH

Country: Germany
Coach:
 Jupp Heynckes
Key Player: Franck Ribery
Other Star Players: Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger & Philipp Lahm
Rising Star: David Alaba
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic,Galatasaray
Chances: The current Bundesliga leaders ended as the beaten finalists last season and will be looking to make amends for it. They have been in fine form so far and are one of the favourites to lift the trophy in May.
Prediction: Semi-Finals

BARCELONA

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Tito Vilanova
Key Player: Lionel Messi
Other Star Players: Andres Iniesta, Xavi & Sergio Busquets
Rising Star: Christian Tello
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1992, 2006, 2009, 2011
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Arsenal, Galatasaray, AC Milan
Chances: The Catalans were the pre-tournament favourites to win the competition and there has been very little so far to suggest that they won’t win it this term. Vilanova has done brilliantly since taking over from Pep Guardiola in the summer.
Prediction: Winners

MANCHESTER UNITED

Country: England
Coach:
 Sir Alex Ferguson
Key Player: Wayne Rooney
Other Star Players: Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic & Antonio Valencia
Rising Star: Rafael
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1968, 1999, 2008
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic
Chances: Unlike last season, United have marched pretty easily into the knockout stages and with Van Persie & Rooney both in form they are a team to fear. Surely one of the contenders for the title.
Prediction: Semi-Finals

PORTO

Country: Portugal
Coach:
 Vitor Pereira
Key Player: Jackson Martinez
Other Star Players: Joao Moutinho, Lucho Gonzalez & Nicolas Otamendi
Rising Star: James Rodriguez
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winner 1987, 2004
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Schalke, Malaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Chances: The Portuguese champions have gone all the way before but its very unlikely it will happen again this season. They have a very good squad with some very talented players but its highly unlikely they will trouble the big teams.
Prediction: Round of 16

ARSENAL

Country: England
Coach:
 Arsene Wenger
Key Player: Santi Cazrola
Other Star Players: Jack Wilshere, Thomas Vermaelen & Lukas Podolski
Rising Star: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Runner-up 2006
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Malaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona
Chances: The Gunners have had a stuttering season both domestically and in Europe – especially at home. They will need to improve a lot in the second half of the season if they want to be genuine title contenders.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

AC MILAN

Country: Italy
Coach:
 Massimiliano Allegri
Key Player: Stephan El Shaarawy
Other Star Players: Philippe Mexes, Ricardo Montolivo & Kevin-Prince Boateng
Rising Star: Mattia De Sciglio
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Chances: Like Arsenal, the Rossoneri are struggling this term domestically and in Europe. They are not the force of the old, although their pedigree and experience in this competition means they should not be taken lightly.
Prediction: Round of 16

REAL MADRID

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Jose Mourinho
Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo
Other Star Players: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos & Mesut Ozil
Rising Star: Raphael Varane
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester United
Chances: Its been over a decade since Real Madrid last won the Champions League and the boss Mourinho has never appeared more determined to win the tournament for the club this season. With the team they have they are regarded as the joint favourites alongside Barca.
Prediction: Runners-Up

SHAKHTAR DONETSK

Country: Ukraine
Coach:
 Mircea Lucescu
Key Player: Luiz Adriano
Other Star Players: Darijo Srna, Willian & Fernandinho
Rising Star: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Quarter-final 2011
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Malaga, Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Chances: Like Dortmund, Shakhtar are another side that have grabbed the attention of many in the group stages. They are the ones who dumped Chelsea out of the tournament and a side very few people would want to face in the knockout stages.
Prediction: Round of 16

VALENCIA

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Ernesto Valverde
Key Player: Roberto Soldado
Other Star Players: Jonas, Sofiane Feghouli & Adil Rami
Rising Star: Daniel Parejo
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Runner-up 2000, 2001
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Dortmund, Juventus, Manchester United
Chances: The Spaniards have been very impressive in the group stages with their star striker at the top of his game but do not appear equipped for a really extended run in competition this season.
Prediction: Round of 16

CELTIC

Country: Scotland
Coach:
 Neil Lennon
Key Player: Giorgos Samaras
Other Star Players: Fraser Forster, Victor Wanyama & Gary Hooper
Rising Star: Anthony Watt
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1967
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Málaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester United
Chances: Had little hopes of making it through to the knockout stages after being grouped with Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow but they did it. Anything else from now will be a bonus for the Scottish champions.
Prediction: Round of 16

GALATASARAY

Country: Turkey
Coach:
 Fatih Terim
Key Player: Burak Yilmaz
Other Star Players: Felipe Melo, Nordin Amrabat & Hamit Altintop
Rising Star: Semih Kaya
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Semi-finals 1989
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Málaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona
Chances: Snatched the second spot from CFR Cluj on the final matchday. Like Celtic, anything else they achieve from now on will be a bonus for the Turkish side and very few teams will fancy making the trip to the intimidating Turk Telekom Arena in Istanbul.
Prediction: Round of 16

Champions League Group Stage Ultimate XI

Group Stage Ultimate XI

The Champions League group stages are done and dusted with Chelsea becoming the first holders in the history to be knocked out in the group stages, Manchester City completely out of Europe, Real Madrid finishing second and Lionel Messi in fine form.

Here, IntoTheTopCorner picks its Group Stage Ultimate XI, containing the very best performers over the six matchdays in a 4-5-1 formation. There’s an alternative to each selection, so have a look at the team below…

GK – FRASER FORSTER (CELTIC)

Forster

Celtic are through to the knockout stages for the first time since the 2007/08 season and they had some individual performances to thank for. The former Newcastle United shot-stopper is one of them, as he had two brilliant games against Barcelona that actually secured their qualification. A last-gasp defeat at the Camp Nou and a historical win at Celtic Park did their confidence a world of good, and their final matchday win over Spartak Moscow was more than deserved.

Alternative – Joe Hart (Manchester City)

RB – PHILIPP LAHM (BAYERN MUNICH)

Lahm

Bayern’s skipper and Mr. Consistent, Philipp Lahm, has proved dependable yet again as the Bundesliga leaders secured the top spot in Group F ahead of Valencia. Though, the German international captain did his best work on the left flank he comes in our side as a right-back. He managed three assists and won one penalty in the five matches he played and looked very solid at the back.

Alternative – Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund)

CB – THIAGO SILVA (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN)

Thiago Silva

The Brazilian is known as one of the best defenders in the world of football at the moment and he didn’t let anyone down. The former AC Milan centre-back was very consistent throughout the group stages as he helped the French side to first place in Group A in their long-awaited return to Europe’s elite. He scored two goals including the opener in PSG’s important win over Porto on Matchday six.

Alternative – Martin Demichelis (Malaga)

CB – MATS HUMMELS (BORUSSIA DORTMUND)

Hummels

Dortmund – surprisingly – topped the Group of Death and they had their solid defence to thank for it. Hummels, the integral part of the reigning Bundesliga champions’ back four, was at his very best as Die Schwarzgelben remained unbeaten in all of their six group games and also managed to keep three clean sheets in the process.  All the defence played their part, but the German international was perhaps the standout performer in Jurgen Klopp’s back four.

Alternative – Nicolas Otamendi (Porto)

LB – GIORGIO CHIELLINI (JUVENTUS)

Chiellini

Juventus secured their passage through to the knockout stages as Group E winners thanks to an unbeaten run of six games. Their last three were impressive wins and also clean sheets, while the Old Lady came out victorious in Donetsk – a feat achieved by very few teams in the past 12 months or so. The Italian international was perhaps the most impressive player in Antonio Conte’s back three.

Alternative – Christian Fuchs (Schalke)

CDM – ARTURO VIDAL (JUVENTUS)

Vidal

The Chilean international has to be one of the players of the group stages. The former Leverkusen man is a typical box-to-box midfielder combining defensive steel with goal-scoring prowess at the highest level. His partnership with Claudio Marschisio is the engine of Conte’s team. In the group stages, he averaged 4.8 tackles per game and scored three goals with one assist—an absolutely remarkable feat for a defensive midfield.

Alternative – Victor Wanyama (Celtic)

CM – WILLIAN (SHAKHTAR DONETSK)

Willian

The Brazilian alongside the Chilean gives our side some South American feel in the midfield. Willian, who has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League clubs like Chelsea and Tottenham in the past, was one of the top performers for Shakhtar scoring four goals and creating two as they made it through to the last-16 and dumped the holders out of the competition in the process.

Alternative – Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk)

CM – ISCO (MALAGA)

Isco

The 20-year-old Spaniard scored twice and assisted two in six games to announce himself on the European stage and walk straight into our line-up. While he has failed to to translate this form into his La Liga games, Isco has been in super form in the Champions League. It’s his form in the in Europe’s elite competition that has clubs scrambling to meet his €18.5 million buyout clause before Malaga extend his contract, and it’s clear this kid has something slightly special.

Alternative – Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich)

RW – CRISTIANO RONALDO (REAL MADRID)

Ronaldo

Love him or hate him, but the Portuguese is surely one of the best players in the world and he proved it with his performances for the Spanish champions in the group stages. The former Manchester United star managed to scored six goals in the group of death and will be hoping to score many more in the later stages as he hopes to guide the Los Blancos to their first ever Champions League title in over a decade.

Alternative – Juan Mata (Chelsea)

LW – LIONEL MESSI (BARCELONA)

Messi

A Champions League team without the best player in the world? Not possible at all. The Barca striker is at his very peak and was again at his very best in the group stages scoring five goals and creating two as he helped the Catalans top their group. The Argentine has had the best year having scored 90 goals and will be hoping more of the same in 2013 as he looks to guide his team to yet another European success.

Alternative – Burak Yilmaz (Galatasaray)

ST – ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC (PARIS SAINT-GERMIAN)

Ibrahimovic

Out strike force is a nightmare to any team and Ibrahimovic leads it. The Swede has played for the many elite club during his career but his contributions for the French capital side in this season’s campaign can’t be ignored. He has managed to score just two goals in the six games but it’s the five assists that are the most impressive. Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez must really enjoy playing alongside the Swede as he continues to impress.

Alternative – Jackson Martinez (Porto)

Group Stage Ultimate XI

Where Next For City Rejects?

Manchester City may be the Premier League champions and may have a huge transfer budget to strengthen their squad this summer, but there are many dead wood players in the squad which they need to get rid off. Here, we look at the possible destinations of those players who are expected to leave Eastlands this summer.

1. Kolo Toure

The former Arsenal defender has struggled to get his place back in Manchester City’s starting XI following the lengthy drugs ban last year, and with Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott now City’s first choice pair in the heart of the defence, Toure looks likely to leave this summer. PSG and Bursaspor, were both rumoured to be interested in the Ivorian, but with the French capital side signing Thiago Silva and the Turkish side making no further contacts, it looks unlikely that Toure will move to anyone of those two clubs. Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal are also chasing the strong defender, but his huge wage demands may create an obstacle to the potential deal.

2. Stefan Savic

With Vincent Kompany suspended and Kolo Toure on international duty, Savic had his opportunity to prove himself in the Premier League at the back for City. The result was disastrous, as he played a huge part in City’s defeat to Liverpool in the Carling Cup semi-final and his worst game was against Swansea, when he was subbed off after just 45 minutes. The Montenegro international still has three years left on his contract at the Etihad, but City could cut their losses by selling him this summer. Sporting Lisbon and Roma are both interested, while Wolves are ready to take him to the Championship on a season long loan.

3. Nigel de Jong

The hard-tackling midfielder has seen his role fall from a first team member to a squad player in the past couple of years, but yet the Dutch international claims he is happy to warm the bench and be useful whenever the club needs him. Italian giants Inter Milan are said to be interested in him and move to the San Siro could be hard to turn down.

4. Roque Santa Cruz

Signed for around £17.5m in 2009, the Paraguayan international is one of those City signings who has spent more time away on loan to other clubs rather than at the Etihad stadium. A brief spell at Blackburn was followed by a season-long loan to Real Betis in 2011/13. Mancini is not at all a fan of Santa Cruz, but Betis are certainly interested to sign him, after he scored some important goals for them in the La Liga last season. The former Manchester United target has expressed his desire to stay with the La Liga club on permanent basis and is ready to take a wage cut to do so.

5. Emmanuel Adebayor

The Togolese striker is another big money signing who has seen his career fall apart since joining City. The former Arsenal man had a bright start at the Eastlands, scoring in his first four games including against his former club but since the arrival of Roberto Mancini, the 6ft 3in slipped down the pecking order. Adebayor had successful loan spells at Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur but both the clubs were unable to agree a deal to keep him. Spurs have made it clear they want to sign him but he will have to take a significant wage drop to make the transfer possible.

6. Edin Dzeko

The tall Bosnian striker became one of the Europe’s hottest prospects during his time at Wolfsburg, where he helped them win the Bundesliga title, but his time at City has been very disappointing. Dzeko scored just twice in his first season and was in some good goal-scoring form at the start of last season, but his goals dried up in the second half of the season and that resulted him in falling out of favour with Mancini. AC Milan are rumored to be interested in signing him as a potential replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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.