City’s pre-season dogged by Van Persie speculation
Roberto Mancini would not have expected to have a quiet summer, and he’s certainly not getting one. There’s one name creeping round the streets of Manchester: Robin Van Persie.
Thirty goals in the Barclays Premier League last season has made the Dutchman – even despite a disappointing Euro 2012 – a supremely attractive summer buy.
Were he to have sported the red of Manchester United rather than the red of Arsenal last season, would it have been the Red Devils’ 13th Premier League title instead of City’s first?
In courting the Dutchman, Mancini has tried to take a relaxed approach, yet Sir Alex Ferguson’s admission of interest in the striker has forced Mancini’s hand.
These problems have followed Mancini to Austria where his side has only won one of their opening three friendlies, whilst there has been speculation over a possible bust-up between Mancini and the City executives over the Van Persie deal.
Surely there has to be a big off-load of strikers before any more additions can be made.
Players such as Roque Santa Cruz will surely be let go for a nominal fee in order to free up some space in City’s gargantuan squad.
However, they are faced with one main problem in shifting the majority of the players: wages. For example, Emmanuel Adebayor, an accomplished striker with over 160 career goals, but not quite a world-class player, is currently sitting on a wage package of £170,000 a week.
Realistically, he will be unable to find any club willing to pay such vast wages, however, Adebayor remains adamant that his wage will not be slashed by too much. Spurs seem the obvious suitor, but they are looking to pay him a far smaller sum of £70,000 per week.
Another big question surrounds Carlos Tevez, after Mancini described his City career as “finished” last year, he slowly let Tevez come back into the fray in the latter stages of the campaign and the Argentine proved a key part of City’s late comeback.
However, there is still no doubt that Tevez has the capability to derail a title charge, should he repeat any previous antics.
Mario Balotelli could well do the same, but he showed more than enough ability at Euro 2012 for Mancini to keep him on-board.
Edin Dzeko is another possible departure this summer, but Mancini will be keen to keep the alternative dimension that he offers; it’s also worth remembering that he has some genuine quality, shown when he smashed four in against Spurs at the beginning of last season.
All in all, it would be surprising should Van Persie fail to make a move to a Manchester club this summer. If Man City manage to get their hands on him it would be unthinkable for them to keep both Dzeko and Tevez as well, however, with Man City’s obscene financial capabilities it would be foolish to rule out any outcome.
Raffi Salama, football correspondent