Date: 11th February 2013 at 5:48pm
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VMC’s Lorna, recovering from the St Mary’s horror show runs the rule over a raft of rumours suggesting that City need to rebuild having all but stood still since winning the title…

Well. After THAT performance and Roberto Mancini quite rightly fuming at such an uninspiring display at Southampton, according to The Manchester Evening News’ Stuart Brennan, City look set to make some big changes, and not only for the side that takes on Leeds next weekend.

It took that performance at Southampton to bring to light again what has been obvious for a little while now, namely that our strikers are NOT scoring. Yes, they knock the odd one in but as I have stated here before if it was not for the likes of Silva, Milner, Barry and Zabaleta scoring in earlier matches the title race would have been over long ago for us.

To me the race was over on 29th January at QPR. On that night I could see we were going to concede one too many goals soon. I didn’t want it to be that way but it was glaringly obvious to me. My City buddies refused to accept this and called me a pessimist and said it was still mathematically possible. Maybe it was, but without a striker scoring it doesn’t matter how good the maths are. All I could do was give a shrug of the shoulders and say ‘call me what you will,’ I knew I was right. Last season it was different, we had a different scenario, we were 8 points behind but at that time we had the return of a firing Tévez that made it work. This time Tevez (who is absent due to family issues but will be back for Leeds), Aguero (whom rumour has it is heading on his way to Barca to team up with Messi) and Dzeko together but they are just not working. Couple this together with the fact that City did not even attempt to employ another striker when we certainly needed one to replace Mario…it’s a combined recipe for disaster!

Up front, the first names that come to mind for me are Guidetti and Lopes…why on earth did Mancio not bring those two in for Southampton? Knowing full well Tevez was absent and there was no fourth striker. No Balotelli (even though he wasn’t producing much either, the fact remains he just may have done if he had still been with us on Saturday). Guidetti and Lopes are eager and given their youth they would have run rings around most of the Southampton team. I know I am not alone in that train of thought and I really believe that they could have saved the day on Saturday. Clearly, Mancini did not see it that way.

Looking at the bigger picture across the side, who are the rumour mill merchants suggesting City could bring in to replace some, if not all of our squad in an attempt to come back even stronger and knock those swamp rats back off the top spot next season?

For starters, the media suggests that we have now been linked with Real Madrid youngster, Raphael Varane

19 years old, Varane is French and valued in the region of £19 million. A central defender, he is attracting interest from various clubs, including the rags some time last year. Described as somewhat ‘troublesome,’ Varane joined Madrid in 2011 from Lens where he made 23 appearances and apparantly signed a six-year deal at the Bernabeu.

There is doubt as to whether Real Madrid would want to part with a defender of his calibre, even if he is young, so I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one…but I wouldn’t completely dismiss it either.

Further rumours state we are also planning to make bids for Swansea forward Michu regardless of his recently signed new contract with Swansea. He comes rumoured at a good price of around £15 million which would be a figure that does not break the bank in the David Gill conspired world of Premier League finance.

Certainly Michu has only just come into English football and he’s started off very well so this will obviously begin to attract other clubs over time.

There is of course the fact that if he does not want to leave Swansea then I very much doubt they will even attempt to force him out but on the other hand if he was offered to play at a higher profile club like Manchester City then the very idea of playing in and possibly winning the Premier League/ Champions League may just be what could persuade him to leave Wales. There is of course the added bonus of higher er, capped wages and that is an incentive in every one’s eyes. Michu is good for Swansea but nothing lasts for ever, so he is one to watch out for in future transfer windows.

With the Edinson Cavani rumours nothing much really needs to be said here as we are all aware of his talents (26 goals – 27 games) and our interest. Cavani has been, there seen it, scored it and has had success in the Champions League which is of course the direction where City want to be heading in the not too distant future…so yep, Cavani would be a welcome addition even though I would say that a bidding war will start and this is going to soar to something like £60 million or so because lets be honest, he would be worth every penny.

However, if the media are to be believed, Cavani has alleged to have recently said he doesn’t want to come over to the Premier League at this moment in time, so with that in mind he may just go over to Real Madrid or Barca (and that will most likely be where the bidding starts) but again who knows, football is a law unto itself!

Hulk!?…Where on earth the media get their ideas from is beyond me. Do they really think he would come to us after the performance of our own fans chanting away at Porto last season comparing him to Marvel comic hero The Hulk…’you’re not incredible!’ Oh dear, I would not see that as a move made in heaven. I think we will just forget this one. Even if the chanting hadn’t upset him, the hefty figure of £40 million would upset us…is he really worth that much?

Then we have the heavily linked Neymar, again a forward, this time from Brazil. Spanish sports daily Mundo Deportivo write that City are alleged to have offered a blank cheque in order to entice Neymar over to the Blue side of life. Again, pure speculation as his boss at Santos says this is not happening, that Neymar is happy and is staying put, at least until 2014 when his contract runs out!

Then there’s David Villa. Both City and Arsenal have allegedly put in bids for this guy who apparently wants to leave the Nou Camp in pursuit of regular first team football. Regardless of who he finally opts to play for he will certainly leave this summer. But I hasten to add do we really want to start with someone at the age of 31? Big question.

Stevan Jovetic? Again, both City and Arsenal are said to have indicated an interest. If so, it’s a good choice at a good age of 23 years with an already massive reputation as a striker. Fiorentina have an inkling that he is going to up and go (even though his contract extends to 2016) and we can assume that the price is going to soar. He has a current market value of £26.5 million but I wouldn’t be surprised if that climbed to somewhere in the region of £29-30 million.

Falcao? Maybe. We do have an interest, but then again so do Chelsea and Roman Abramovich does seem to have the power of persuasion even though he gets rid of his managers at the proverbial drop of a hat and he desperately needs to offload Torres one way or another. Falcao is amazing on the ball for Atletico with 22 goals in 21 appearances, but then again did not our very own John Guidetti perform similarly for Feyenoord?

– Back to the immediate future and Leeds United on Sunday. My head is still reeling from that humiliating defeat on Saturday. To lose a game fighting is one thing but to lose with a whimper and not even try is a totally different ball game altogether.

all times East Manchester

Su 17Feb 14h00 Leeds United, The Etihad, FAC5
Su 24Feb 13h30 Chelsea, The Etihad, PL
Mo 04Mar 20h00 Aston Villa, Villa Park, PL
Sa 09Mar 15h00 Wigan, The Etihad, PL
Sa 16Mar 12h45 Everton, Goodison Park, PL
Sa 30Mar 15h00 Newcastle, The Etihad, PL