Having just awarded Emmanuel Adebayor the No 9 shirt, Manchester City are determined that he will be wearing it come the start of the Premier League season next week. Yesterday, the Togo striker appeared to signal the end of his stay at Eastlands after just one controversial season by saying he was considering a move to Juventus, but City have no intention of letting him go.
Roberto Mancini is under pressure to trim his large first-team squad to the 25 players over the age of 21 as required by the Premier League for the new season, but the Italian still sees Adebayor, who scored 14 goals in 26 games for City in the last campaign, as an integral part of his plans.
City yesterday used Twitter to state their desire to keep Adebayor in Manchester. The club posted a message saying: "Take it from us everyone, despite reports, MCFC has no plans to sell Emmanuel Adebayor; our new No 9 for this season – and that's official." The club have denied recent reports that Adebayor, who cost City £25m from Arsenal, was ever told that he was not wanted at Eastlands.
Adebayor is in the process of changing agents and it is thought that may have contributed to his views not being properly represented to an Italian newspaper.
"I wanted to wear the City shirt and have a better season compared to last year," Adebayor told Tuttosport. "But I know there will not be many chances for me and so I am considering the many offers I have received.
"I will be sorry to leave the Premier League, but in Europe there are other top leagues. Juventus are a great club in which I would like to play for. Until some time ago I would not have accepted a transfer to other clubs. The economic aspect is important but if it was one of the biggest clubs in the world I would consider other aspects."
Juventus are in the market for a striker, having – like City – failed to sign the coveted Edin Dzeko from Wolfsburg after the Germans demanded £33m for the Bosnian.
Mancini and City are still actively pursuing Mario Balotelli, the 19-year-old Internazionale striker who would compete with Adebayor for a starting role at Eastlands. City remain in negotiations for a deal to recruit Balotelli from the Italian champions, although while wages are no longer believed to be a stumbling block, the size of the fee is an issue. Inter want upwards of £25m including performance-related clauses for a player who is still in the early stages of his career.
Mancini is expected to shed some of his attacking options before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. Craig Bellamy, Jo, Felipe Caicedo and Robinho are all candidates to move on, although in the case of the latter it may need City to take a large hit on the £32.5m they paid for the Brazilian.
Robinho has finished a six-month loan spell in his homeland with Santos, helping them win the Brazil Cup on Wednesday. Santos will struggle to afford the £20m City want to recoup. "If it were up to me I would continue with Santos," said Robinho. "It would be great if Manchester City accepts, but if not I will honour my contract."
Santos president, Luiz Alvaro de Oliveira, said: "It will be hard to hold on to him but we will do what we can."
City's striking options
Roque Santa Cruz
Injury-plagued big-money signing who scored just four goals last season.
Ineffectual Brazilian hoping for a second chance at City after loans at Everton.
Was an instant success after leaving neighbours United, scoring 29 goals.
Versatile and pacy but too often outspoken. Tottenham are interested.
£32m Brazilian wants to extend loan spell at Santos, which ran out this week.
Loaned out to Malaga last season.
Fine start to City career petered out towards end of last season.