Mancini set for January funds to boost City's title challenge

Manchester City's Abu Dhabi owners are convinced Roberto Mancini can deliver them the Premier League title in his first full season and are ready to back their belief in him by returning to the transfer market next month.

Mancini has insisted that a top-four finish – the target he was set by the City board in August – is the limit of the club's ambition for this campaign and though the board appreciate that the unpredictability of the season, manifest in Monday's 2-1 home defeat to Everton, could deliver any outcome, there is a genuine belief that a first title in 42 years could be theirs.

The board's conviction that Mancini is the man to lead them is such that he has not been set a 70-point target, as his predecessor Mark Hughes was, and must instead achieve only a top-four finish. With that goal in sight, the club will attempt to sign Edin Dzeko, Wolfsburg's prolific striker, next month, to reinforce a front line in which Carlos Tevez has been asked to shoulder too much responsibility. City believe that the move for Dzeko will not be straightforward – talks broke down in the summer because the German club's £45m valuation was £15m higher than City's – but the strong first half to the season strengthens their appeal to the Bosnia international.

There will also be another move for 23-year-old Benfica defender David Luiz, with a belief that a £23m bid may be enough, despite the £40m release clause in the Brazilian's contract.

Beyond that there will not be a vast outlay in January, with only minor tweaks considered necessary at a club which has concluded that Craig Bellamy will not return when his season-long loan spell at Cardiff City is over. But the signing of Dzeko is a significant aim, considering the unpredictability of both Tevez and Mario Balotelli. At 24, Dzeko falls within the younger age range of players that City feel they can work with as they seek Champions League qualification. The tournament's revenues are critical to their attempts to lessen their £133m losses and move within the level of losses permissible under Uefa Financial Fair Play regulations from 2013.

Though there is still some disquiet about the light in which Hughes' departure from Eastlands cast the club – there is a feeling at the highest level that City were vilified for Hughes' sacking simply because news of Mancini's appointment leaked out at the Italian end – Mancini's approach to the job has delighted the board as much as the team's position.

Their belief in him was evident in the decision to sign Balotelli from Internazionale this summer, a move Mancini was intent on. Balotelli yesterday underwent an examination of his left knee, which he injured against Everton. As Mancini had suspected, there is no cause for concern and he will be fit to play at Newcastle on Boxing Day, but his eye-catching acceptance speech on collection of Tuttosport's Golden Boy trophy reveals what a man-management task Mancini has on his hands.

The 20-year-old claimed he is the best player under the age of 21 and that he did not even know who fellow contender Jack Wilshere was. Balotelli, who finished ahead of the Arsenal midfielder, said: "I am delighted to receive this award. Who should have won this award but me? Two years ago I finished sixth and a year ago fourth. It was finally my turn. I don't know who Wilshere is but the next time I play against Arsenal I will keep a close eye on him.

"Perhaps I can show him the Golden Boy trophy and remind him that I won it! To have won this award is a good omen. All I ask for is two things: to win the Premier League and to clinch the Europa League."

City Softies v Tough Toffees: How Manchester City and Everton braved the cold on Monday

There were two approaches to dealing with the –8C temperatures at Eastlands on Monday night. First was the Everton way, which was to wear short-sleeved shirts and run around like billy-o to try to keep warm and go 2-0 up inside 20 minutes as a result.

Second, was the Manchester City way, which was to snood up, pop on some tights, be unable to move due to the amount of clothing and go 2-0 down. Here's who wore what:

Everton

Short sleeves, long-sleeve undergarments and gloves: Louis Saha

Short sleeves and long-sleeve undergarments: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov

Long sleeves only: Tony Hibbert, Sylvain Distin, Victor Anichebe, Phillip Neville, Marouane Fellaini

Short sleeves only: Phil Jagielka, Tim Cahill, Leon Osman, Leighton Baines, Jack Rodwell, Seamus Coleman

Long-sleeve goalkeeper jersey: Tim Howard

Manchester City

Short sleeves, long-sleeve undergarments, snoods, gloves and tights: Mario Balotelli, Yaya Touré

Short sleeves, long-sleeve undergarments, snoods and gloves: Carlos Tevez, David Silva

Short sleeves, long-sleeve undergarments and gloves: Adam Johnson, Pablo Zabaleta

Short sleeves and gloves: Kolo Touré

Short sleeves and long-sleeve undergarment: Jo

Short sleeves only: James Milner, Aleksander Kolarov, Gareth Barry, Vincent Kompany

Long-sleeve goalkeeper jersey: Joe Hart

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice