Manchester City completed their second signing of the summer yesterday, with centre-back Stefan Savic signing a four-year deal for a fee of £6m. Twenty-year-old Savic, a Montenegrin international, is the second defender to join City this week as Roberto Mancini starts to prepare his squad for Champions League football next season.
Savic, formerly of Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade, can play at right-back or centre-back. With Kolo Touré banned for the start of the new season, and Jerome Boateng subject to interest from Bayern Munich, Savic will provide necessary support to the defence. Gaël Clichy, bought from Arsenal for £7m earlier this week, will provide competition to Aleksandar Kolarov and Pablo Zabaleta at left-back.
Yesterday's purchase brings to three the number of City players from the former Yugoslavia. Savic is excited at the prospect of playing with the Serbian Kolarov and Bosnian Edin Dzeko. "It is a dream come true and I'm especially looking forward to meeting Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov because they both speak my language and come from the Balkans, too," Savic said. "Aleks has already phoned me to welcome me to City which makes me feel at home already.
"I watch the Premier League all the time and I know it's the place to be so I am just looking forward to helping this club achieve great things. We have an incredible stadium and I've seen how passionate the City fans are many times on TV."
After two defensive signings, City are likely to move their attention to attacking players. While there is an interest in Arsenal's Samir Nasri, a deal for the midfielder is not imminent. The Frenchman has only one year left on his Arsenal contract and is stalling on signing an extension.
City's pursuit of strikers will only be intensified should Carlos Tevez get his wish of a move away from Manchester. A natural replacement for Tevez, in terms of playing style, would be Ezequiel Lavezzi of Napoli. Lavezzi is a 26-year-old Argentinian forward with a similar physique and skill set to Tevez.
While there had previously only been speculation of an approach for Lavezzi, the agent of City manager Roberto Mancini yesterday confirmed that City's interest in Lavezzi was real, but suggested that Napoli's asking price might be prohibitive. "Manchester City's interest in Lavezzi could be a reality," Giorgio de Giorgis told Italian radio. "[City] has been negotiating for the past few months with Napoli, regardless of Tevez's situation. City has spoken to Napoli about Pocho [Lavezzi]. "But €31m (£27.9m) for Lavezzi, it's excessive. However, to find a player who is ready like Pocho is, it's not easy."
As a means of enabling a deal for Lavezzi, De Giorgis suggested that City might include a player in part-exchange, and mooted the possibility of Gareth Barry switching Manchester for Naples. "Manchester City could include a player in the deal, but I don't know what player could interest Napoli," Mancini's agent said. "The only one could be [Gareth] Barry, who is an England international and does not have a high salary."