Roberto Mancini has refused to rule out the possibility of Edin Dzeko leaving Manchester City in the summer, although he has no desire to push the club's leading scorer through the exit door.
Despite Dzeko's 13 goals this season, the striker is known to be unhappy that he has started fewer than half of his 35 games for the champions.
The 26-year-old, who won the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg in 2009, has been linked with a return to Germany with Borussia Dortmund. However, in an interview with Sky Italia, the Manchester City manager disagreed and thought that Serie A might be a possibility should Dzeko decide to leave England.
"We haven't spoken about the transfer market because there are 10 games to go but in June anything can happen," Mancini said. "For me, Dzeko is a great player but he is the type of footballer who needs to play all the time. In Italy he could score 20 goals a season but he would cost someone €20m and maybe more."
Manchester United's exit from the Champions League might make City feel better about their own failure to qualify from the group stages, but Mancini believes it will make his team's task to win a trophy more difficult.
"United will now concentrate all their strength to win the championship and it was hard enough for us before this game against Madrid," he said. "It was better for us that they stayed in the Champions League."
On Nani's red card he added: "I can see why Ferguson was frustrated. It was the same thing that saw Vinny Kompany sent off against Manchester United in the FA Cup last year. This was a big mistake and for me Nani did not deserve a yellow card. Even in Italy it would be nothing because Nani tried to take the ball."
City start the climax to their season with this evening's FA Cup quarter-final against Barnsley weighed down by a growing injury list. Sergio Aguero still has a knee problem while Jack Rodwell has another pulled hamstring – his ninth in the last 12 months. Kompany, City's captain, will also miss his seventh straight game with a calf injury.