An insipid display on a cold winter's day in Sheffield had underlined for Sven Goran Eriksson the need to add some substance to the elegance of his overseas purchases to date and it may materialise in the form of the 6ft 2in Brazilian striker Joao.
Joao Alves de Assis Silva, to give the young CSKA Moscow player his full name, has a strong goalscoring record for the Russian club and Valencia's recent decision to withdraw from a deal to take the striker to La Liga because they balked at the £14.8m price tag might mean the player moving to City, who were smarting yesterday after their FA Cup elimination at the hands of Sheffield United.
Joao has been capped once by his country and scored twice in four outings in this season's Champions League but his side's poor showing – CSKA finished bottom of Group G – might also hasten a move. City's quest for a striker is well known and no less urgent now that Rolando Bianchi has departed to Lazio and that Valeri Bojinov may be be forced to sit out the rest of the season, despite returning to training last week after damaging knee ligaments last August.
Joao first made his mark at Corinthians between 2003 and2005, scoring 13 goals in 85 appearances, and after moving to Moscow was an instant hit, scoring 14 goals in his first 18 appearances for the club. His international career has been curtailed by a row with the Brazil coach Dunga, after which Joao said he would not play for his country again until the coach steps down.
It is understood that Eriksson, who admits he has been frustrated by clubs' unwillingness to part company with players who have said they want to join City, also remains keen on Real Zaragoza's Argentinian striker Diego Alberto Milito, though the 28-year-old is unlikely to be in Manchester before the summer because the Spanish side want to keep the £18m man until then. Eriksson may yet have to satisfy himself with Djibril Cissé, still a possible loan target, though by no means top of his list, who scored a hat-trick for Marseilles at the weekend.
City have continued their efforts to contribute to next week's commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Munich disaster by announcing that Eriksson will take part in a pre-match ceremony before the derby match a week on Saturday, at which members of the former City player Frank Swift's family will also be present. City will be wearing shirts bearing no sponsor or manufacturing branding, only the "Manchester Remembers" motif. The City captain, Richard Dunne, and Eriksson have sent a message to fans with tickets appealing to them to "uphold the good name of Manchester City".Reuse content