Sagna and Fernando head Manchester City’s early summer recruitment drive

Posted: May 15, 2014 in General

The dust has barely settled on Manchester City‘s ticker-tape title parade, but the club is pressing ahead with a major recruitment drive ahead of the defense of their Premier League title.

Manuel Pellegrini, who won his first major trophy after City’s 2-0 win over West Ham, is set to meet the club’s owners for talks in Abu Dhabi ahead of a summer of frantic transfer activity.

The discussion in the Arab city – where City has already landed – will center on transfer targets, with Pellegrini set to be backed to the hilt by Sheikh Mansour in the upcoming transfer window.

Speaking to the press after the victory over Sam Allardyce’s side, Pellegrini claimed the club would immediately look to build on their success, rather than sit back and bask in the glory of their success.

“Big teams cannot be satisfied with just one title,” he said. “It is very important to celebrate today and tomorrow, and start on Tuesday working for next season. Then we will start thinking where we can improve.”

One such area is midfield, with Porto star Fernando a priority target for the Chilean. City tabled a joint bid for Fernando and his clubmate Eliaquim Mangala in January, though the deal could not be completed before the transfer deadline.

However, Pellegrini remains keen to land Fernando and talks with the Portuguese club are progressing well, with the groundwork for the deal laid earlier in the year.

Everton has also been credited with an interest in the 26-year-old, but City believes it has a head start on the Merseyside club given its good relationship with Porto.

Bacary Sagna has also been prioritised and Goal understands the Arsenal right back is on the verge of moving to the Etihad Stadium.

The Frenchman has informed the Gunners of his desire to leave and City is prepared to match his 100,000 pounds-a-week wage demands in order to land its man.

Sagna could join such luminaries as Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Kolo Toure should he swap north London for Manchester, a move that will infuriate many of the Emirates faithful.

However, after falling foul of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, City will look to balance the books by allowing a number of players to leave this summer. Scott Sinclair, signed from Swansea in 2012, spent the season on loan at West Brom and will be allowed to go for as little as 3 million pounds after failing to impress Pellegrini.

So too will Jack Rodwell, if a buyer can be found, after the ex-Everton midfielder made just one Premier League start this season, while Gareth Barry is likely to be the subject of a bid from Roberto Martinez’s side after impressing during a short-term stay at Goodison Park.

City however, is keen to ensure Micah Richards stays at the Etihad, despite the club’s interest in Sagna. Richards’ contract expires in 12 months and the club wants to retain the 25-year-old for the duration of his contract, in order to avoid violating the homegrown player rules put in place by both the Premier League and UEFA.

Richards has publicly admitted that he will “have to do what is best” for his career this summer, and Pellegrini will attempt to convince him to stay put for at least another season, while the same can be said of Costel Pantilimon.

The Romanian goalkeeper has fallen behind Joe Hart in the goalkeeping pecking order, despite an extended run of games earlier in the season, but City will offer the stopper an improved deal if he is happy to continue competing with the England international.

Pantilimon currently earns around 30,000 pounds-a-week and has been linked with a move abroad, but talks over his future are expected to take place before the transfer window opens.Image


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