According to the Sun newspaper, Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has told the Premier League champions’ bean counters that their next signing has to be approaching the level of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo if they are to progress.
Those two would probably cost north of £100m apiece and are unlikely candidates for an Etihad switch; the former will probably have a hand in knocking the Citizens out of the Champions League for the second season running this week, while the latter’s ties with Manchester United should preclude him from ever moving to the neighbours.
There aren’t many other players that even rank in the same category as Barcelona and Real Madrid’s Ballon d’Or dominators, but the news that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer may be timely.
The much-travelled striker has had some choice things to say about France, so much so that odious Front National leader Marine Le Pen recently suggested he should leave the country.
Being made to look small by Le Pen is quite an achievement, but such demerits won’t trouble mega-rich City if Zlatan brings the boots that have scored 328 goals in 606 club football games since 1999.
However, after pinching Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna from Arsenal since being taken over by Abu Dhabi United Group back in September 2008, would it be such a surprise if Gunners hotshot Alexis Sanchez was tempted north in the summer?
Arsenal would expect a return on their £30m-plus investment in the Chilean, but we know money is no object for City, whose only real worries on that score lie in potential Financial Fair Play sanctions.
Despite his productivity tailing off somewhat of late, Sanchez has notched 19 times in 39 matches under Arsene Wenger, and looks to be approaching his peak at 26-years-old.
One other potential superstar that just about edges into the Messi/Ronaldo category is Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, although the Blues are highly unlikely to sell the young Belgium international unless a world record offer comes in.