Manchester City's attempts to load their squad with stellar players continued apace last night, as talks progressed rapidly with Arsenal on a £20m deal which would see the striker Emmanuel Adebayor partnering Carlos Tevez, whose move to the club was sealed yesterday.
On a day when Sir Alex Ferguson introduced Michael Owen, the striker who effectively cost him nothing, and told Manchester United supporters he would "placate fans in one way... by not being stupid" with big-money purchases, City were putting the failure to hire Samuel Eto'o immediately behind them. They offered a five-year deal worth £130,000 a week to Adebayor, a player effectively put up for sale by Arsène Wenger, for whom his career prevarications have proved too much.
City were surprised by how receptive Arsenal were when they made their approach at the weekend, within 24 hours of failing in their attempt to sign Eto'o. Arsenal are believed to want £25m for the Togo international, a fee comfortably within City's range. There is also still confidence that John Terry is receptive to a move to City, with suggestions yesterday that the player is keen that any such move should be a smooth rather than a poisonous one.
Though there is some belief that Adebayor may just be seeking to flush out interest from Milan, whose vice-president, Adriano Galliani, has approached Wenger, the momentum City are building in the transfer market can only help with their marquee signings. Attempts to have £20m Joleon Lescott alongside Terry at the heart of City's defence next month also continue apace.
City are confident their wage offer could seal a rapid deal for Adebayor and it is not inconceivable that the 25-year-old will be among the small group of players, which is to include Tevez, who will fly out of Manchester to Abu Dhabi tomorrow morning, to meet the club's owners before joining the rest of the squad on pre-season tour in South Africa.
Wenger's policy of recouping cash from one big sale per summer means Adebayor is free to leave and Wenger is understood to be ready to turn to Bordeaux's 6ft 2in Morocco forward Marouane Chamakh as a replacement. Wenger has long been aware of the 25-year-old, who is strong in the air and has good close control, and has indicated he might be interested in moving for him "in the event of a departure".
City's moves came as Ferguson insisted his club had "concluded our business" for the summer, with the only likely arrivals now being players for the future, such as Gremio's Douglas Costa, for whom the club are seeking to negotiate a price of around £7m. Though Ferguson suggested last season his club's Manchester neighbours would struggle to sign players with the inflated prices being asked of them, City's success in tying up deals has left other Premier League clubs trailing in their wake, with £12m Gareth Barry and £17m Roque Santa Cruz to go with Tevez.
The £150,000 a week on offer for Tevez at City proved decisive and though he was not due to fly into Britain until this morning, the requisite medical was waived, with his fitness unquestionable.