Manchester City's attempts to lure Samir Nasri to the Etihad stadium could be complete by the end of the week.
The French newspaper L'Equipe reported yesterday that the Arsenal midfielder had already agreed personal terms of £185,000 per week ahead of a prospective move to the Etihad Stadium later this month, and Mancini's disjointed side certainly looked in need of another playmaker at Wembley when they were beaten by Manchester Unietd in the Community Shield.
Arsène Wenger had been reluctant to let Nasri go but the midfielder's contribution in pre-season has suggested that he will not be committed to the club if Arsenal take a £20m gamble on him walking away when he is out of contract next summer. Sources in France suggested that Nasri's package has been in place for some time.
Patrice Evra declared yesterday that United do not even need to consider the threat City might pose to them.
The French full-back echoed Wayne Rooney's comments about United's 3-2 win in the two clubs' first Wembley match for silverware, when he said the "important team" next season would be his own. "We played much better than them, but we did it the Man United way and came back to win it right at the end," Evra said.
"It's too early to say whether it will give us an edge. We just played well. We showed that we are the champions. We don't need to look at City or anyone else. If we want to retain our title, we just have to play the Man United way – and that's what we did.
"I always say I respect every opponent, City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool – anyone. But the most important team will be United. If we play the way we can, we've shown everyone we should win the title. We'll be difficult to beat."
City goalkeeper Joe Hart, 24, who admitted that his side's 2-0 half-time lead was "against the run of play", has signed a new five-year contract keeping him at the club until 2016. "I think we needed a kick up the backside before the season started," he said. "We've done really well this pre-season but we have to learn that we're not quite there yet – but we will be. I don't think we had the right mindset when we came back out [for the second half at Wembley]. I thought we defended a bit deep. It's hard when you're playing against a top-quality side like [United]. They had nothing to lose in the second half."
City captain Vincent Kompany said of Sunday's result: "We were not caught like this last season at all, and at 1-0 or 2-0 up I couldn't see how we would give something away. It's part of this period of pre-season and it's maybe good for us that it's happened now, because now we're focused on Monday [against Swansea in the League] and we're the kind of team that can usually bounce back. On Monday we'll be hungry to go out there and win the game."