Mancini splurges on second-pick quartet


SOCCER:MANCHESTER CITY were set to splurge £37.1 million (€47 million) on the transfer window’s closing day on four players, leaving Roberto Mancini saying he was happy with them, despite missing out on a first-choice quartet worth £116 million.

Mancini signed Internazionale’s Maicon for £3.1 million and Swansea City’s Scott Sinclair for £6.2 million while Benfica’s Javi Garcia for £15.8 million and Fiorentina’s Matija Nastasic for £12 million (including Stefan Savic as a makeweight) were complete deals subject to the paperwork. He also took Richard Wright on a free transfer as third-choice goalkeeper.

At the start of the window Mancini targeted Robin van Persie, who went to Manchester United for £22 million, Roma’s Daniele De Rossi, valued at £30 million but who stayed at the club, Eden Hazard, bought instead by Chelsea (£32 million), and Javi Martinez, who cost Bayern Munich £32 million.

Asked about his signings some hours before the 11pm deadline, Mancini said: “When you finish the season, you have a meeting with the club, you talk about some players but sometimes maybe it is not possible to take all the players you want. You should have a different choice. But if I get these players, I am happy. If we sign these players we’ve talked about, I think we’ll improve our team . . . We are talking about one top player in Maicon, because he has experience. Nastajic will be one of the top defenders for a long time.”

Mancini has voiced his frustrations with Brian Marwood, the club’s football administration officer, for missing out on his prime targets. Now the Italian claimed to have shifted his position. “I was frustrated as it is difficult to do everything in one week or 10 days, only this reason. Now I think they have worked very well in the last two weeks,” he said.

Mancini had identified his favoured players in May but, apart from the £15 million signing of Jack Rodwell from Everton, all the recruitment occurred in the window’s closing 24 hours. Asked whether this was not strange, he said: “This is the market, this is problem for Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain, every time you go to buy one player the other club can ask £20 million. This is not correct from the other club and this could be the problem.”

City have been drawn in the toughest Champions League group, alongside Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax, like the Blues the respective champions of their countries. “If we get 10 points we will go to the second stage. I am confident. I will be happy with 10 points from this group,” Mancini said, a reference to the tally City accrued last season which proved insufficient to reach the knockout stage.

The champions take on Queens Park Rangers in today’s late kick-off, a repeat of last season’s final-day fixture, which they won 3-2 in the closing moments to clinch the title. “We didn’t win the championship in the last second. We won the last championship during all the season because we deserved to win the championship. We did better than all the other teams,” Mancini said. “Football is beautiful for this because anything can happen in one game.”

Mancini confirmed the injured Sergio Aguero will not have to travel back to Argentina despite being named in their squad for the upcoming internationals.

At Liverpool Brendan Rodgers removed several more high earners from Liverpool’s wage bill on deadline day in what looked set to be a futile attempt to improve his attacking options with Clint Dempsey. The manager sanctioned the departures of Charlie Adam to Stoke City in a permanent £4 million deal and Jay Spearing on a season-long loan to Bolton Wanderers, and was also hopeful of loaning out the young Spanish forward Daniel Pacheco as he continued to trim squad and salaries at Anfield. That followed Andy Carroll’s transfer to West Ham on a season-long loan on Thursday that will save Liverpool over £4 million in wages.

Rodgers was concerned about the size of the Liverpool squad before the late exits but allowed the four to leave in the hope of finally completing the permanent transfer of Dempsey from Fulham. The US international was allowed to speak to Aston Villa after they agreed a fee with Fulham but informed Paul Lambert he wished only to join Liverpool, in an attempt to force a cut-price exit from Craven Cottage. Last night, however, he was having a medical at Tottenham.

Liverpool also moved for Daniel Sturridge after Carroll’s exit left them short of established strikers but that hit complications when the Chelsea player insisted on leaving only on a permanent basis. Rodgers dropped his interest in the former Manchester City player when Chelsea demanded a £15 million fee, then revived it when the European champions became open to a loan deal. Sturridge’s stance created a late problem.

At Everton David Moyes completed his fourth permanent signing of the summer with the £2 million capture of Copenhagen’s Bryan Oviedo. The Costa Rican, who can operate at left-back and left midfield, was granted a work permit in London yesterday.

The Everton manager also wanted to strengthen central midfield but his budget was unable to stretch to either Steven Nzonzi of Blackburn Rovers or Michael Essien from Chelsea.

Fulham confirmed the signing of Dimitar Berbatov on a two-year deal worth nearly £5 million. The Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had earlier suggested the striker could go to Tottenham Hotspur. Kieran Richardson completed his move to Fulham, from Sunderland for an undisclosed fee.

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