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Manchester City Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of January 27

Phil KeidelContributor IIJanuary 27, 2014

Manchester City Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of January 27

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    Given Aguero's recent form, City are probably not in the market for another striker.
    Given Aguero's recent form, City are probably not in the market for another striker.Jon Super/Associated Press

    Manchester City are playing so well now that one 45-minute interval where they look human causes the British press to go even more dotty than normal.

    "Manuel Pellegrini insisted that one bad half would not force him into the transfer market before Friday's deadline," bleated Sky Sports in the aftermath of City's come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Watford in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

    Right, because had City actually lost to Watford and bowed out of the FA Cup—avoiding another high stakes clash with Chelsea, as it turned out—that would have been an abject disaster. Only more transfer spending could have saved City then, after their first loss in two-and-a-half months.

    So silly.

    Pellegrini has his priorities right, at least. "We'll see what happens, deadline day is 31 Januaryit's not our first concern but we'll see what happens in the future," City's boss told Sky Sports.

    City are spoiled in that, with the transfer window about to close, they just do not need that much help. But that will not keep the tabloids from talking moves up. Those papers will not sell themselves, you know.

    - LATEST UPDATE FRIDAY JANUARY 31 -

Fernando and Mangala Deals Off?

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    Paul White/Associated Press

    Lots of early speculation on Friday that Porto pair Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando could be bound for Manchester City on deadline day, but the flames have now been doused somewhat.

    Re #MCFC, Fernando & Mangala deals WON'T happen in this window. Porto asking price too high. #MCFC in strong position to sign both in summer

    — Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) January 31, 2014

Eliaquim Mangala And/or Fernando to City?

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    Mangala would be a difference-maker on City's back line.
    Mangala would be a difference-maker on City's back line.Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

    THURSDAY, JANUARY 30

    Manchester City certainly keep the scoreboard operator busy. Five more goals against Tottenham Hotspur (11 on the season!) further underscored City's propensity to score goals like a college student playing a football video game all night long.

    While the best defense may in fact be a good offense for City, there remains the nagging feeling that City can do much better than Martin Demichelis or Matija Nastasic as a running mate for Vincent Kompany on the back line.

    "City are preparing to table a sensational £38 million bid for FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala," Liam Prenderville reported for the Mirror today.

    Yes, that is a ton of scratch. But if not now, in the midst of four trophy chases, then when?

    The same report suggests that "could be joined in Manchester by current club mate Fernando" at much shorter money—approximately £7 million.

Domenico Berardi to City?

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    So many strikers, so little time.
    So many strikers, so little time.Davide Spada/Associated Press

    THURSDAY, JANUARY 30

    With any luck, Sergio Aguero's latest hamstring twang will not take him out of the Manchester City XI for too long.

    As recounted by ESPNFC.com, Aguero's day against Tottenham Hotspur ended early when he "came off before half-time after clutching his hamstring, having recently returned from a calf problem which sidelined him for over a month."

    City are now reduced to two fully healthy strikers (Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic). Aguero is out, and Alvaro Negredo has yet to play since injuring his shoulder against West Ham United in a Capital One Cup match.

    Liam Prenderville of the Mirror suggests that City might enlist some striking help before the transfer window closes: "City are among a number of clubs interested in Italian startlet Domenico Berardi. The 19-year-old has impressed for Serie A minnows Sassuolo this season and scored four times against AC Milan recently.

    This move is a bit of a long shot, insofar as "Juventus own 50% of the player and...have an agreement that they can purchase the other half for €10 million in the future."

    Finally seeing Jovetic score against Spurs may have eased City's collective mind about their strike force, anyway.

Blaise Matuidi to City?

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    Matuidi would make a lot of sense for City.
    Matuidi would make a lot of sense for City.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    MONDAY, JANUARY 27

    So many rumours of players coming to (or leaving) the Etihad are senseless. For example, could we please stop with the stories of Sergio Aguero leaving Manchester City? That rumour bubbles to the surface like flatulence in the bathtub all too often. Kun is going nowhere.

    But the recent story of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi coming to City makes sense and in this writer's view ought to be seriously considered.

    Per Anthony Chapman of the Independent

    The defensive midfielder, 26, is out of contract this summer and looks set to leave the French giants as a free agent. City boss Manuel Pellegrini is keen to beef up his midfield in order to take the pressure off key duo Fernandinho and Yaya Toure, and would prefer to wrap up a transfer this week.

    This is exactly the sort of move City need to be making—rentals with an option to buy. If the worst thing that happens out of this transfer is that Matuidi leaves in the summer, well, so what? City will never miss the reported £8 million it will take to pry Matuidi out of Paris.

    Particularly where, as Chapman noted, "neither Jack Rodwell nor Javi Garcia (are) impressing Pellegrini in their bit-part roles."

Luke Shaw to Manchester, but Which Side?

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    Shaw (right) continues to be in high demand.
    Shaw (right) continues to be in high demand.Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    MONDAY, JANUARY 27

    Southampton left-back Luke Shaw continues to be a hot transfer window topic. After a hot start, the Saints' season has settled comfortably into the middle of the Premier League table.

    As such, Southampton may be ready to sell a commodity in demand. Shaw fits that bill nicely and, per Dave Kidd of the Mirror, the suitors are lining up with their wallets out.

    "United have tabled a £22 million offer for the talented 18-year-old...and long-term admirers Manchester City could also become involved," Kidd wrote. 

    Chelsea are also keeping tabs on Shaw, according to Kidd: "The bid from Old Trafford will now trigger the west Londoners into making a move before the transfer window shuts on Friday night."

    After Chelsea sold Juan Mata to United at least in part to fluster City and Arsenal (per Chris McKenna of the Telegraph), the possibility that Chelsea would buy Shaw just to keep him away from City and United must be considered.

Pepe to City?

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    Pepe (right) has been in Pellegrini's sights for a while now.
    Pepe (right) has been in Pellegrini's sights for a while now.David Ramos/Getty Images

    MONDAY, JANUARY 27

    City boss Manuel Pellegrini is known for his team's free-scoring, forward-pressing play. However, as Tim Rich of the Independent noted recently, all of City's goal-happy skills might amount to nothing when City have to run with the likes of Barcelona.

    So, it cannot be a surprise to read that Pellegrini is still looking for cover in the back line. He has been after Real Madrid about Pepe for what feels like months now, and that interest has not waned.

    "Matija Nastasic and Martin Demichelis have done little to suggest they could be long-term partners for Vincent Kompany and the Citizens' boss has reportedly now turned his attentions to Portugal international Pepe," wrote Liam Prenderville for the Mirror.

    Unfortunately for City, it looks like Real Madrid are either not that interested in moving Pepe or will only do so at an extortionate price. "The 30-year-old has continued to be a focal point of the Los Blancos back line this season and City are thought to have had a £25 million bid rejected," Prenderville noted.

Joleon Lescott Nearly out the Door at City?

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    Lescott (right) still hopes to sneak into the England national team, somehow.
    Lescott (right) still hopes to sneak into the England national team, somehow.Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    MONDAY, JANUARY 27

    Joleon Lescott entered this campaign no better than Manuel Pellegrini's fourth choice at centre-back behind Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis and Matija Nastasic. The season is well past half gone and nothing has changed.

    Per Liam Prenderville of the Mirror, multiple Premier League sides are willing to take Lescott off City's hands and plug him into an XI.

    "The battle for defender Joleon Lescott has intensified once more, with Aston Villa now interested. West Ham have been front-runners for his signature throughout the window, while Turkish side Besiktas have also been linked," Prenderville observed.

    The significant interest in Lescott underscores a largely unspoken fact that Premier League clubs seem to know intuitively: Just because you are not in City's XI does not mean you cannot play.

    City's worst player, whoever he is, would probably walk into the XI of 15 league sides.

Yaya Toure to PSG?

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    Some day, Yaya will not be a Citizen any more. Let's agree not to think about that.
    Some day, Yaya will not be a Citizen any more. Let's agree not to think about that.David Rogers/Getty Images

    MONDAY, JANUARY 27

    Admittedly, this one made your humble correspondent upchuck into his mouth a bit. Yaya Toure to Paris Saint-Germain? Isn't he under contract?

    Yes, he is, and in truth this rumour is one of those trumped-up stories that maybe did not need to be told by the original source.

    Countless examples of this sort of journalism have sullied the art's good name—specifically, a reporter asking a vague, hypothetical question to get a speculative answer which turns into a shocking fact.

    Here, Ian Holyman of ESPNFC.com, citing a French source, reported that Toure said the following after being asked whether a return to PSG was possible:

    Everything's possible. Why not? In life, you never know. Everything's going well at City for the moment, but you never know. When you have big teams like that, where there are big players, of course it's attractive. To be part of an adventure like that is exceptional. To work with great players is always my objective. It allows you to learn many things. In football, you never stop learning. For me, PSG are a big club.

    Well, what was Yaya supposed to say? That PSG are terrible, that he would never want to play there again, that the fans are idiots and that the league is weak? Of course not.

    At least for now, Yaya is staying put. Thank heavens for that.

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