Man City plot risky signing in effort to overcome Yaya obstacle

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With Yaya Toure heading to the African Cup of Nations in January, Roberto Mancini is concerned about a lack of depth in the centre of midfield, but Owen Hargreaves appears to be the solution in a potentially impressive bit of business by Manchester City.

Toure is set to be away for around a month representing the Ivory Coast, leaving only Gareth Barry and Nigel De Jong as natural selections in Mancini’s two holding midfield positions at a significant part of the season.

Dutch midfielder Mark Van Bommel was one name being touted to add some more steel to the Manchester City squad, while Barcelona’s Seydou Keita had also been linked.

However, both are happy at their current clubs and were likely to prove difficult to prize away.

Therefore, Mancini has instead come up with an ingenious offer for Hargreaves, who was released by rivals Manchester United earlier this summer after a succession of injury troubles.

Hargreaves is thought to have already undergone a rigorous three-hour medical at Manchester City in order to prove his current fitness and will be offered a pay-as-you play contract initially.

The 30-year-old has recently stated his intentions of making a late charge into England Euro 2012 squad and believes he has the fitness to play 40 games this season.

With first-team opportunities likely to be more forthcoming at Everton or West Brom, short-term deals at either of these clubs would surely have made the most sense in terms of his career.

But Manchester City now seem to have won the race for his signature and having a fully-fit Hargreaves at their disposal will only enhance their armoury in their title quest.

A 100 per cent winning record through their opening three Premier League games has seen Manchester City’s odds cut to 9/4 to be crowned champions.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.