Manchester City are edging closer to a deal to sign the Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko from Wolfsburg, and are ready to offer Roque Santa Cruz in part-exchange.
Dzeko, who was the top scorer in the Bundesliga with 22 goals last season, made it clear yesterday that he wants to leave the club, with City and the Italian side Juventus in competition for his signature.
The 24-year-old told German newspaper Kicker: "I want to clarify that it is not a matter of money but of ambition. I feel I have to take a leap in quality and land in a big club. It is an important moment of my career and I also explained to that to the leaders of Wolfsburg. With them I have a wonderful relationship and I am sure they will fulfil my desire."
Talks between City and Wolfsburg are at an advanced stage, although they have yet to agree on a price. The Germans value Dzeko at £34m but City believe the addition of Santa Cruz, who joined the club a year ago for £17.5m and is highly thought of in Germany after his time with Bayern Munich, will see the price lowered appreciably.
The Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti fully expects Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, to complete the signing of Dzeko, along with the Serbian left-back Aleksandar Kolarov from Lazio who is valued at £15m. Ancelotti was reported in Italy to have said: "They [City] spend plenty and Roberto Mancini is equipping a great squad. Wait and see, they will also sign Kolarov and Dzeko."
City have already spent more than £60m this summer, with the signings of Yaya Touré from Barcelona for £28m, David Silva from Valencia for £24m and Jerome Boateng from Hamburg for £10.5m. The huge spending follows the acquisitions last summer of Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Touré, which saw City improve but narrowly fail to finish in the top four in the Premier League.
Dzeko, who has scored 56 goals in 94 appearances for Wolfsburg, is also wanted by Juventus, who are ready to offer Diego or Mohammed Sissoko in a player-plus-cash deal for the striker. The Germans are believed to be tempted by the offer of Brazilian international Diego who has been a major disappointment since his move from Werder Bremen a year ago.
Juventus acknowledge however that if it comes down to a straight bidding war they cannot hope to compete with City's spending power.