Mancini's long-term plan
| Submit Comments| Comments (4)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapRoberto Mancini has been given the green light to build a team for a bright Blue future. The Blues boss has already said he intends to be competing for the Premier League title next season but the emphasis of this summer's transfer strategy will be to form a strong, youthful nucleus. Mancini inherited another man's team when he took the reins at City in December, and that brought its own problems. Established stars, many set in their ways, do not always take to a change of routine, especially in the middle of a long, hard slog of a season. When Mancini spoke of changing the club's mentality, he hoped to change the mind-set of the players he found. That was not always possible, and will be reflected by the nature of the players who are hastened through the exit door. Now Mancini is aiming to mould a team in his own image, and for that, he wants young, pliable players - but also a smattering of experienced stars to maintain stability. Challenge While Mancini is boldly talking of a title challenge, the reality is that he has been charged with building a team for the next four or five years. The feeling is that too many of Mark Hughes' big-money signings - Craig Bellamy, Roque Santa Cruz, Kolo Toure, Wayne Bridge - were driven by the need for quick success. Now Mancini has had the shadows of doubt about his future removed, he wants to bring in players with a more long-term view. The first step will be to recall 23-year-old Joe Hart from loan at Birmingham. He will probably start the season as number one choice with Shay Given still recovering from injury and Gianluigi Buffon's agent stating that the keeper has no intention of leaving Juventus. The first signing of the summer is already virtually in the bag. Hamburg's 21-year-old Germany international defender Jerome Boateng, has thrown a farewell party for his team-mates after telling them he was joining City on a three-year deal for £11m, as revealed by M.E.N. Sport last month. Boateng will strengthen the right side of defence, and Mancini is also interested in £22m left-sided Brazilian David Luiz, of Benfica. Prospect In midfield, the picture is more hazy, obscured by the smoke and mirrors employed by every club and agent when a transfer window is starting to creak open. Aston Villa's James Milner fits the profile, as a dynamic 24-year-old who can fill several positions and would be a natural replacement for Bellamy, if the Welsh striker leaves. But the possibility of landing Steven Gerrard is a big temptation, and is a real prospect, with Gerrard ready for a move and Liverpool's owners wanting to cash in as they prepare to sell the club. If those ambitious deals fail, Mancini may move for old favourite Marek Hamsik, the Napoli and Slovakia playmaker who interested him when he was manager at Inter Milan. The position in terms of strikers is also something of a merry-go-round. The prime target has been identified as Fernando Torres, but Mancini would also like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who led the line for him at Inter before his move to Barcelona last summer. Barca are ready to splash big money for Valencia's David Villa, but they would want to recoup some or all of that outlay, making Ibrahimovic a possibility. Sights have been set high, and without Champions League football as part of their package, some or all of the bigger deals may fall short. But Mancini will be happy if he gets the youngsters, the building blocks of the future.| Submit Comments| Comments (4)| Printable VersionAdd A CommentEnter your comments:Type your comment here...
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