Mancini: Uefa's rules forced us to take Hargreaves gamble


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The Independent Online

The Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has admitted that he took a risk by signing Owen Hargreaves after the need to bring the club in line with Uefa's Financial Fair Play regime prevented them bringing in the Argentine Fernando Gago from Real Madrid.

Mancini also named Roma's Daniele De Rossi as a midfielder he coveted, though he did not believe the 28-year-old would leave Roma. "[Gago] is a player who we liked a lot. We couldn't spend any more money also for the question of Financial Fair Play," Mancini said. "De Rossi is one of the best midfielders in the world. But I don't believe that he will ever leave Roma. So in midfield we signed Hargreaves who was out of contract. An experienced player like him can give us a big hand."

Mancini's assistant David Platt has described the move for Hargreaves as a "calculated risk" and admitted that a lack of transfer income had been behind the decision to move for the 30-year-old. "We needed a central midfield player but unfortunately in terms of players going out and bringing in transfer fees, a lot have gone out on loan, so fees haven't come in for them. You have to get creative."

City may rest Samir Nasri against Wigan on Saturday after he broke a metatarsal in his left hand during France's Euro 2012 qualifier with Romania on Tuesday but he is likely to be fit to face Napoli next Wednesday when City kick off their Champions League campaign.

Meanwhile, City's Mario Balotelli has been called as a witness in a major Italian anti-mafia trial. He is due to appear in a Naples court as part of the investigation into the activities of the Lo Russo clan, a week today. Balotelli and the Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi have been called because of their association with Marco Iorio, a catering entrepreneur who has been arrested for money laundering.

Balotelli's connections with Iorio are curious. The striker was given a guided tour by Iorio of Naples's Scampia district. He wanted to see the locations used in the film Gomorrah.