Roberto Mancini yesterday insisted that he would not buy another striker in January, despite Manchester City's Spanish scout having met Napoli's Edinson Cavani this week and Milan contacting the manager directly to discuss Carlos Tevez.
Cavani's agent, Claudio Anelluci, was pictured in Rome with City's European scout Barry Hunter, strengthening the impression that City are interested in a player for whom they were quoted £40m this summer. Milan's vice president Adriano Galliani telephoned Mancini personally to ask him if City would allow Tevez to go to them on loan. The City manager turned Galliani down flat because City will not consider anything less than a permanent deal. Talks on a transfer have been positive.
Mancini said he did not know "what can happen in the future" where Cavani and his teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi are concerned, though for now declared himself "satisfied" with his quota of strikers. "I have three strikers and that's enough," the manager said.
Talks are said to have been positive between Milan and Tevez's representative, Kia Joorabchian, over a move. Though sources in Italy suggested there was no immediate sign of progress last night, there is an increasing sense that the club would accept a £25m offer.
City are continuing to pay Tevez's £198,000-a-week wages but they will not continue to do so indefinitely and the notion of the club holding out for a £40m bid looks far-fetched.
Internazionale and Juventus are other possible destinations for Tevez. City are happy for Joorabchian to seek a buyer, and he is understood to have found City's acting chief executive, John MacBeath, positive in expediting a move which would end the Tevez saga.