Napoli's president mocks Mancini over plan to sign Lavezzi


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The Independent Football

Roberto Mancini has said he needs another striker, regardless of Carlos Tevez's decision on his own future, and has admitted that he is an enthusiast for Napoli's striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, though the Italian club's president yesterday ridiculed any pretensions Manchester City may have to buy the 26-year-old.

City are currently involved in the frustrating task of selling loan players to enable them to buy. Blackburn Rovers have made a tentative offer for defender Nedum Onuoha, whose Sunderland loan has ended, and the Ewood Park club are also monitoring Craig Bellamy's situation. They are one of few clubs who might be able to meet Bellamy's wage demands, though Celtic are also interested.

Mancini is focused on buying, though Napoli's president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, yesterday mocked Mancini's claim that Lavezzi's €30m (£26m) buyout clause is too high. "We all have the money, but we are here and no one has called us," De Laurentiis said. "Hence, this story makes me laugh. My dear Mancini, I am sorry for you. Evidently, you anticipate moves of the [City owner] Sheikh [Mansour] that are not true to reality."

Lavezzi has, along with Udinese's Alexis Sanchez, featured on City's long list of possible targets. "I like Lavezzi a lot, but I don't think he is worth the €30m of his clause," was Mancini's conclusion on the player. Neither did Mancini rule out the idea of exploring a move for Fiorentina's 23-year-old forward Alessio Cerci, though Lavezzi appears the more likely target.

As The Independent reported last week, the pursuit of Sanchez is over. Mancini seemed to suggest that the price, rather than the Chilean's willingness to move to Manchester, was the factor. "I have spoken to Sanchez. He said he was open to the idea of coming to City but then we have pulled out. After our last offer, we are out of the race to acquire the Chilean player."

City's attempts to secure the services of Partizan Belgrade's defender Stefan Savic may be held up while he undertakes to take part in a sufficient number of competitive internationals to secure a work permit.

The requirement is that a player must have played 75 per cent of his nation's competitive games within the previous two years to qualify. Savic has played in three out of nine for Montenegro, though it may be six from 12 by October, which may make the case for a permit easier to sustain at tribunal.