Manchester City transfer news and rumours: Lionel Messi, Christian Benteke, Wilfried Bony or Mario Mandzukic could ease striker crisis

A look at the latest gossip in and around the Etihad

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The Independent Online

MANCHESTER CITY BOUND...

A host of strikers are being lined up by Manuel Pellegrini with Manchester City in the midst of a crisis while Sergio Aguero continues to be injured.

With Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic also missing games, James Milner has been played up front in recent matches.

The Sun report that Christian Benteke has emerged as a top target for Pellegrini, with the powerful Aston Villa striker available much cheaper than other players linked with the club. The 24-year-old has just three goals this season but City will be hoping he can return to the kind of form that saw him score 19 Premier League goals in 2012-13.

Wilfried Bony has put top Premier League clubs on alert by telling Swansea he wants to leave - the Ivorian striker scored more Premier League goals than anyone else in 2014 and could be available for around £25million, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Lionel Messi has apparently dropped a huge hint that he wants out of Barcelona - by following City and Chelsea on his Instagram account. The superstar is unhappy with Barca boss Luis Enrique and was on the bench for the defeat against David Moyes' Real Sociedad.

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Lionel Messi now follows City and Chelsea on Instagram - and is unhappy at Barca

Atletico Madrid are also, according to the Daily Star, ready to cash in on Mario Mandzukic. The Croatian striker only joined the club in the summer and has scored 12 goals in 22 matches. However, Diego Simeone could be willing to sell Mandzukic for £32m, a tidy £15m profit.

ON THE WAY OUT...

Jose Mourinho wants to poach Micah Richards from City for a free transfer in the summer, after his loan at Italian club Fiorentina comes to an end.

Out of favour centre-back Matija Nastasic is interesting clubs across Europe, with AC Milan and Schalke leading the chase for the 21-year-old.

Celtic will pay £3m to make John Guidetti's loan deal permanent - the Swede has scored 11 goals in 18 matches for the Bhoys this season.

THE DEAL'S OFF...

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has said that no amount of money will be enough for City to take Ross Barkley to the Etihad. The 21-year-old has been linked with a massive £45m move, but Martinez is determined to keep the promising youngster on Merseyside.

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Ross Barkley will not be sold, no matter the price, says Roberto Martinez

Schalke chairman Clemens Tonnies has told the German media that young star Julian Draxler is not going anywhere. Draxler has several clubs interested in his signature.

Lyon hitman Alexandre Lacazette has said he is happy to stay in France - the striker has scored 19 goals in 20 matches this season, piquing interest across Europe.

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