Manchester City set sights on Torres after signing Kolarov

Roberto Mancini will switch his attentions to recruiting another striker after finally tying up a deal for Lazio left-back Aleksandar Kolarov and yesterday indicated he will be monitoring the ongoing discord between Fernando Torres and Liverpool with interest.

The Manchester City manager left little doubt of his feelings towards the Spanish striker before the end of last season, claiming that he wanted to win the title and that any top team would want Torres.

Speaking ahead of City's 2-1 defeat at the New York Red Bulls yesterday, Mancini said: "Torres is one of the best strikers in Europe and is already playing in the Premier League for three years. But it depends on his situation – his price and whether he wants to come.

"There are two or three strikers that we could go for, but it is the same situation as it is with James Milner. First there is the price and then it depends if the players want to change team. Until today, Liverpool haven't bought many players."

Torres's continued reluctance to pledge his future to Liverpool, and new manager Roy Hodgson's admission that the striker felt let down by broken promises, may see City firm up their interest, with few other potential suitors for him. City are also pursuing Internazionale youngster Mario Balotelli but look set to miss out on Edin Dzeko, with the Bosnian forward claiming he wants to move to Italy and Wolfsburg insisting he is not for sale at any price.

Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool ambassador, hopes that captain Steven Gerrard's commitment to the club, coupled with the signing of midfielder Joe Cole, will still be enough to persuade Torres to stay. "I hope he stays but it's only Fernando that knows what he's really going to do," Dalglish said. "The fact that Stevie's staying will be a great help with Fernando. Joe Cole's signed, Milan Jovanovic has come in, Danny Wilson has signed from Rangers, they've got Jonjo Shelvey [from Charlton]."

Kolarov completed his £17m move to Eastlands from Lazio over the weekend and, after spending the Saturday and yesterday in Belgrade, will return to Manchester this week to train with those City players who have not travelled on the pre-season trip to the United States.

The Serbian is bullish about the club's prospects and thinks that Mancini – who has also signed David Silva, Yaya Touré and Jérôme Boateng at a total cost of £75m and is still tracking Aston Villa's James Milner – will bring the Premier League and Champions League titles to Eastlands.

"When I spoke with Mr Mancini, my choice was Manchester City because I know they are a good team, maybe a great team," he said. "The Premier League is the best in the world and he wants us to go further and win the Premier title and the Champions League. For a young player like me, this is the best opportunity. It's the dream. I know a little of the history of Manchester City, I know that it is over 30 years since the club won a trophy. We want to change that and win a trophy soon for the fans."

Although Mancini has stressed he wants to keep Wayne Bridge – Kolarov's rival for the left-back role – he will be looking to offload a number of players, including strikers Craig Bellamy and Roque Santa Cruz, and defenders Nedum Onuoha and Micah Richards.

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When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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