City seal deal for Santa Cruz

Striker finalises £18m move from Blackburn as Eastlands club step up pursuit of Tevez
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Manchester City will turn their attention to completing the signing of Carlos Tevez after finalising the deal for Roque Santa Cruz yesterday, their second big transfer of the summer. Talks on the Argentine's personal terms are expected to be undertaken in the next few days with City confident of getting their man.

Santa Cruz, 27, passed his medical at City yesterday – an examination which was not taken for granted following knee surgery and a three-month lay-off – and he as signed a four-year deal. The terms of the deal are understood to be around £18m which, as well as the £12m paid for Gareth Barry, make City comfortably the biggest spenders in England so far this summer.

The expectation among Mark Hughes' backroom staff is that the deal for Tevez is already in the bag and it is only a matter of time before the Manchester United player joins him. Following the announcement from United at the weekend that they would not be signing him permanently, the way is clear with the 25-year-old understood to have shown little interest in joining Chelsea.

Tevez's advisor Kia Joorabchian has been careful to stress that the player would not join Liverpool out of sensitivity to Manchester United, but that will not preclude him from joining United's local rivals. His £25.5m transfer fee has been agreed and it will mean that for the first time since he came to England three years ago Tevez's registration will be owned by a club rather than a group of investors.

There is still serious hope at the club that a deal for Samuel Eto'o from Barcelona is not an impossibility despite his wage demands of £190,000 a week after tax and after that a major clearout of players beckons. Craig Bellamy's future must be in serious doubt now just six months after he joined from West Ham and the likes of Valeri Bojinov, Jo, Felipe Caicedo and Benjani Mwaruwari are all available for the right price.

Blackburn Rovers have now lost two strikers in the space of a week with Matt Derbyshire's deal to Olympiakos expected to be concluded today. The club had little choice but to let Santa Cruz go once City matched his £18m buyout fee. They will now turn their attentions to a replacement with Valencia's 6ft 7in Serbian international Nikola Zigic and Kevin Davies of Bolton Wanderers among their targets.

Liverpool are on the verge of signing the England international right-back Glen Johnson after confirming yesterday they have reached an agreement with both the player and his club Portsmouth. The club have been linked with the defender for a number of weeks while Pompey's executive chairman, Peter Storrie, claimed last week that Johnson's former club Chelsea were willing to pay £18m for the 24-year-old.

A statement from the club last night said: "Liverpool FC confirmed this evening that they had reached an agreement with Portsmouth Football Club and with Glen Johnson for the transfer of the player to Anfield."

Johnson enjoyed arguably his best season last term, scoring three times in 29 Premier league appearances as he established himself as England's first-choice in the absence of the injured Gary Neville and Wes Brown.