As the dotted line on Wilfried Bony’s Manchester City contract braces itself to receive the point of the Ivorian’s pen, the accountants of his prospective new employers engage themselves in a book-balancing act.
According to the number crunchers at The Independent, the Citizens have approximately £49m to spend on players this season, lest they incur the wrath of the Financial Fair Play penalty people.
Their net spend so far stands at £38.8m, mainly thanks to the signing of centre-half Eliaquim Mangala and includes big-money departures such as Alvaro Negredo (whose £25m permanent move to Valencia is set to go through in the summer), Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia.
Acquiring Bony for a reported £30m would take this sum close to the £70m mark, meaning they must start shedding unwanted assets quick smart.
Persona non grata numero uno is Scott Sinclair, who is a £2.5m target for Aston Villa, while Serbian centre-back Matija Nastasic is on the verge of joining Schalke for £10m.
Should these deals go through though, the sky blues would still need to find £7.3m during this transfer window.
Were they to do the sensible thing and sell Edin Dzeko, as is mooted in this article, that figure would be comfortably surpassed.
However, after the experiment of a three-striker squad resulted in James Milner playing up front recently, Manuel Pellegrini may want to keep four frontmen in the ranks until the season’s out at least.
Similarly, Dzeko’s own injury problems may prevent buyers from paying big bucks in January.
So where does the Chilean turn?
Understudy left-back Aleksandar Kolarov is an obvious choice, though it may be more profitable showing Samir Nasri the door.
The French string-puller has chipped in with four assists this term and was especially impressive in City’s vital Champions League victory at Roma recently, but in terms of replacements already in the ranks, there are plenty.
David Silva is obviously the headline conjurer on the books, while Jesus Navas and Milner are top level wide men who Pellegrini has frequently relied upon this season.
When fit, Stevan Jovetic can operate in a similar advanced midfield berth to Nasri, while youngster Jose Pozo is another who is talented enough to propser in this position.
A fee north of £20m could easily be commanded for the creative Frenchman and there would surely be a raft of clubs willing to pay it, even taking his lack of goals and work ethic into consideration.
Similarly, with no natural left-back cover to Gael Clichy, keeping Kolarov would be a safer bet for Pellegrini.