Man City take the lead in pursuit of £34m Wolfsburg striker Dzeko

Manchester City are interested in Wolfsburg's striker Edin Dzeko but will not pander to attempts by Steve McClaren's club to drum up interest in him before a €40m (£34m) release clause expires on Monday.

The fact that Dzeko can be purchased at a far lower price next week makes any serious discussions for his signature improbable in the short term, though the Bosnian player has been watched by Roberto Mancini, the striker having been in prolific form for his club since joining from Czech side Teplice in 2007, scoring 54 goals in 94 games for his club. But a move for a player in his bracket reflects the fact that Mancini will have to lower his sights following his club's failure to qualify for the Champions League and after all but giving up on Fernando Torres being lured away from Liverpool this summer.

City were also last night in discussions with Real Madrid over the transfers of the Argentinian midfielder Fernando Gago and his compatriot, the striker Gonzalo Higuain. They are also still keen to bring in James Milner from Aston Villa and the German international defender Jerome Boateng from Hamburg.