Mancini desperate to take Yaya Toure to Inter
Roberto Mancini will force Manchester City to make a decision over Yaya Toure this summer after stepping up his pursuit of the Ivorian international.
The Premier League champions are under pressure to reveal their plans for the 31-year-old midfielder, who is under contract until 2017.
City know they are running out of time to make a return on Toure, with the end of the season the best opportunity to maximise his value.
But his outspoken agent Dimitri Seluk has also revealed his client’s desire to end his playing career at the Etihad Stadium, before eventually taking up a role on the board.
Manuel Pellegrini has refused to confirm if fresh contract negotiations will be opened. The futures of players like James Milner and Martin Demichelis are more pressing issues right now.
But City are gearing up for another summer of unwanted speculation regarding Toure, with former manager Mancini making no secret of his determination to be reunited with the man he signed from Barcelona for £24m five years ago.
The Inter Milan coach has been increasingly vocal about his intention to lure Toure to Serie A - and claims the player is also keen on a move.
“Yaya’s played in all the top leagues apart from Germany and Italy and if he, as it seems, would like to come to Italy, then there is this possibility,” said Mancini.
“It’s not going to be easy. He’s a player with personality and incredible technical quality, but if he were to come to Italy, then Inter would certainly be his first choice.
“Let’s first just see what happens with financial fair play. I’m convinced that we’ll sign some good players who will boost the quality of the side.”
Toure was a key figure in City’s FA Cup and Premier League triumphs under Mancini.
In an interview, the Italian added that Toure’s arrival could prove pivotal to Inter’s hopes of being crowned Serie A champions next season.
“I’m so confident because of what we are doing,” he said. “The foundations are solid. I can see the lads improving all the time - everybody’s getting better.
“Next season, we are aiming to fight it out with Juve, Napoli and Roma.”
City are still to make a decision over Toure’s long-term future.
While he has been a talismanic figure in their success of the past five years, he has also been the source of unrest during that period.
The Ivorian has also struggled to replicate his finest form this season.
With chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain planning to refresh City’s aging squad in the summer, the time could be right to cash in.
They could realistically hope to demand in the region of £20m for a player who turns 32 in May.
City are set to renew their interest in Ross Barkley after refusing to meet Everton’s £50m valuation last summer - and Paul Pogba is another player they would like to bring to the Etihad.