Roma’s midfield general Daniele De Rossi has been outlined as Roberto Mancini’s top transfer target of the January window after the Man City boss reportedly demanded Txiki Begiristain to sanction a £20m move for the Italian international.
The 29-year-old tough-tackler has been highlighted as the man to instil some steel into the middle of the park at the Etihad as City’s European struggles continued against Ajax last time out, leaving them with monstrously long 100/1 odds to lift the Champions League this year.
De Rossi’s exploits on the international scene – winning the World Cup and playing European Championship final – as well as his experience of frequently featuring in top-level continental competition for Roma makes him the sort of seasoned pro character the City midfield lacks.
The likes of James Milner and Gareth Barry are much-maligned by armchair experts up and down the country for their perceived ineffectiveness on the pitch, but one thing that can be levelled at them without retort is that they are unfamiliar with the requirements of Europe’s premier competition.
City’s group-stage elimination is all but confirmed for the second successive season on the spin and this lack of know-how in the middle of the park could be a key reason behind this failure.
Whether Begiristain will sanction the move remains to be seen as another hefty transfer fee, on top of reported £100k-a-week wages, will do City’s bid to comply with UEFA’s financial fair play regulations no favours at all.
Plus, his role in the team would be similar to that occupied by the recently-acquired Javi Garcia – a more mobile version of Barry who can distribute the ball from back to front quicker, as well as putting a boot in when needed.
It’s hard to imagine Mancini willing to throw the towel in on one of most expensive summer signings after just two full months in a City shirt, yet that’s what De Rossi’s arrival would indicate.
Garcia was hooked at half-time with the Citizens 2-1 down to Ajax while Barry remained on the pitch as they went looking for goals in the second half. This suggests that the Italian is far from happy with the job the former Benfica man is doing in the centre of his midfield and, as a result, is set to renew his interest in compatriot De Rossi.
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