Mancini targets Van Persie signing

 

Lisbon

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, arrived in Lisbon yesterday for the Europa League tie with Sporting, but his mind was back in England and on the Arsenal striker Robin van Persie, in particular.

City have been linked with a move for the prolific Dutch striker but it is the first time Mancini has gone public with his desire to sign him. "We are interested in all good players. This is normal, but not only us. I think all the good teams are interested in Van Persie," he said.

"I think Van Persie at this moment is one of the best strikers in Europe with [Lionel] Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and with Sergio [Aguero] and Mario [Balotelli]. I think he is a fantastic striker, but I think he will remain with Arsenal."

City acquired Samir Nasri from Arsenal last summer and have also signed Gaël Clichy, Kolo Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor from them in recent years. Mancini added: "I think if there is a good player who wants to leave a club, then we are interested. But if this player wants to stay, we don't have any problem. In my opinion, Van Persie will stay at Arsenal.

"I think Robin van Persie will sign a new contract with Arsenal because if Arsenal lose also Van Persie, they will have a big problem."

As regards the Europa League, Mancini insisted that it would be perfectly possible to win the final in Bucharest and see off the constant, draining Premier League challenge of Manchester United, although those in his squad know the margins of error are now very slim.

"We have to be careful and not lose even one more match," said Sergio Aguero. "Even if we draw a game, they could catch us. The Premier League is so competitive and now the matches are harder for us."

As part of the Atletico Madrid side that overcame Fulham to win the Europa League two years ago, Aguero has been this way before. At the Vicente Calderon, though, they were not fighting on two fronts as they are at City.

In an interview with the Argentinian daily El Grafico, Aguero said: "Even if we don't win the title, the fans will still say we had a great season". In the long term he will be right, but to have come so close and be bested by a side that has consistently eclipsed them would take some swallowing in Manchester's blue corner. His father-in-law, Diego Maradona, could not understand why Argentina celebrated their second place in the 1990 World Cup, commenting tartly to his team-mates: "You don't celebrate second place, tiger."

When Mancini arrived in the press room in the Jose Alvalade Stadium yesterday, it was to face questions that City did not respect Sporting. There was the suggestion that some members of the City squad could not name any of the opposition players.

"My stance is always to be very well informed about my opponents," said the Sporting manager, Ricardo Sa Pinto. "Maybe not everyone does that but, after tomorrow, maybe they won't forget some of [my] players' names."

And yet, compared with Porto, Sporting Lisbon should be straightforward for City. Currently fourth in their league, they have recent fired their coach, Domingos Paciencia.

For once, the questions directed towards Mancini were not dominated by the twin figures of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, as the absence of the suspended Yaya Touré is more significant. Balotelli, Mancini said, had been fined for his trip to a Liverpool strip joint just before City's dismissal of Bolton on Saturday, but one week's pay rather than two. Just the £120,000, then.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015