Forward thinking Mark Hughes refuses to give up on bringing Samuel Eto'o to Manchester City
02 July 2009 09:05
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Mark Hughes accepts Manchester City will be judged by the quality of their strikeforce - which is why he is so keen to bring Samuel Eto'o to Eastlands.
While speculation continues about the imminent arrival of Carlos Tevez, who is now a free agent after the expiry of his two-year 'lease' arrangement with Manchester United, Eto'o remains at the top of Hughes' summer wish-list.
City have not given up on their hopes of signing the 28-year-old from Barcelona, even though this week's indication has been that Eto'o would remain at the Nou Camp.
Rather than merely a marquee signing Hughes insists he is not interested in, the Blues chief is looking for the player who could ignite an entire forward line.
And, after assessing the Cameroon star, Hughes is convinced Eto'o is the man.
'He is a world star and a European Cup winner, the type that scores you 23 goals a season,' said Hughes. 'With those types of player you know exactly what you will get - quality, a winner's mentality and someone who will get people out of their seats.
'My feeling is that it is the right time for him to help us in our ambitions. There is an old adage in football that you stand or fall by your strikers.
'There are times in games when things aren't going particularly well when you need somebody with the ability to win games on their own.
'All the top clubs have them. If we can add players who can do it to the ones we already have, it gives us a better chance.'
Hughes accepts there is a chance Eto'o will eventually opt to remain where he is, if only to stop Barcelona pocketing the entire £25million transfer fee for a player who would be allowed to leave for nothing in 12 months' time.
Moves to lure Tevez to Eastlands can now be speeded up, with some suggestion that a deal could be done as soon as Monday.
Hughes is adding nothing to such talk. However, he is prepared to concede high expectations of City, which were so wide of the mark last term, would be an accurate assessment of the feeling inside the club this year.
'People's perceptions about us will be accurate this year,' he said. 'If we can get the players we are hoping for we will have more tools to do the job. We didn't have that last year.
'But leading into the new season I fully expect us to be in better shape and be better prepared than we were last year when expectations were the same as they will be this time.
'Last year we couldn't fulfil them. This year I anticipate we will.'
The news will be welcomed by Sheikh Mansour, who has declared himself satisfied with the first 10 months' progress since buying City from disgraced former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
'It was very clear that Manchester City was a sleeping giant of English football,' he said.
'Waking that giant is going to be very rewarding on a number of levels. We continue to be very clear in regard to our expectations and ambitions.
'We are competitors. We are here to win and to build a club that will be in a position to win trophies.
'What we have done in the last 10 months sets the tone of the way we will do things very clearly.
'However, 10 months on since the acquisition I am more convinced than ever of the potential that is there to be realised.'