Manchester City have made Edinson Cavani their principal summer transfer target after conceding defeat in the race to sign Atletico Madrid hitman Radamel Falcao.
The Citizens hold a long-standing interest in the Colombian, but according to reports in the Sunday Telegraph, have accepted that he is likely to join either Chelsea or Real Madrid instead.
Therefore the North West club will make the first move for Cavani with an opening £40m offer to Napoli at the end of the season.
Signing a new striker is the primary aim for manager Roberto Mancini this summer – even though his current role is under threat due to poor domestic and European performances this campaign – and the Italian hopes to be in charge for the upcoming squad overhaul at Eastlands.
Before City’s Premier League game against Chelsea, Mancini said: “I think we need to improve our team. This is true it’s important to focus on the players that are good for us. I don’t know if that’s three, five, six, nine, one, it’s difficult to say this now.”
A number of players are thought to be on the way out of the City of Manchester Stadium at the end of the current campaign, which has failed to build upon the foundations set by last year’s dramatic title triumph.
With £19m already banked from the sale of Mario Balotelli to AC Milan, a similar figure likely to be recouped from Edin Dzeko’s proposed return to the Bundesliga and maybe as much as £10m for the unwanted Joleon Lescott, City have raised funds to add to their usual healthy summer window budgets.
The Sunday Express claim City could be forced to pay as much as £54m for Cavani, citing Napoli’s desire to hold out until his release clause is broken as key to potential negotiations.
The Manchester outfit have a shortlist of strikers to sign this summer, and while Cavani is the leading target, the aforementioned Falcao, Brazilian prodigy Neymar and Liverpool frontman Luis Suarez are also being considered.
But it seems with Mancini’s acceptance that Neymar is set for a move to Spain, the difficulty in landing a rival team’s player in Suarez and the stiff competition for Falcao, Cavani is set to be the man City turn to as they try and claw back at Manchester United in the leaguenext campaign.
When questioned about Cavani, Mancini said: “I like him, but all the world wants him. There are big players. I don’t know what can happen. Suárez plays for a top team like Liverpool. Cavani plays for Napoli. There’s [Radamel] Falcao but, again, all the managers like him.
“Neymar is a good player. He’s young. I don’t know if he’s ready to play in England because the football is totally different. I think he will go to Barcelona or Madrid where the football is more technical.
“But Cavani and Falcao would work in England. They have experience. Both players are 26, 27. They are good enough to play in England.”