Manchester City are confident they have the deal in place to sign Carlos Tevez, whose loan contract at Manchester United runs out in 10 days' time.
Sources at the club believe that the Argentine is as good as theirs, despite United's option on the player and the interest from Liverpool and Chelsea. While there is no announcement expected in the next few days – Tevez's adviser Kia Joorabchian was at Royal Ascot yesterday – City believe they will start the new season with Tevez.
The European football fraternity is still waiting for the real movement in the transfer market – even the Cristiano Ronaldo deal to Real Madrid has not really set the dominos falling yet. However, the word around Mark Hughes' staff is that once the major players get moving around the end of this month it will be City who get Tevez for the asking price of £25.5m.
City can offer the best deal to the investment consortium that owns Tevez's rights, they can pay the wages he wants and give him the first-team football he made such a fuss about last season. Unwilling to be drawn into an auction, the rest of English football is waiting to see who City sign before making their moves in the market.
Tottenham have been hopeful of signing Roque Santa Cruz from Blackburn Rovers but the Paraguayan, who returns to Britain from holiday this weekend, is expected to undergo a medical at City almost immediately.
This means Hughes' long-term target will probably be named a City player early next week. However, the medical is significant: Santa Cruz has not played since March after knee surgery and had longstanding injury problems earlier in his career.
While Samuel Eto'o was the subject of talks between City and Barcelona on Tuesday, the future of the striker still rests upon whether the Spanish club can replace him. Nevertheless, the vast wealth of owner Sheikh Mansour has allowed them to dominate the market this summer, forcing everyone else to postpone their moves until City have shown their hand.
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