In a wide-ranging interview back home in Italy about Manchester City’s transfer plans, Roberto Mancini confirmed that he is a big fan of Napoli’s wide forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, but indicated that he didn’t expect a deal to be done.
The 26-year-old played a pivotal role in the Azzurri’s shock qualification for the Champions League last season and also established himself for Argentina to such an extent that he is set to start at the Copa America ahead of the likes of Citizens captain Carlos Tevez.
Mancini also revealed that he is confident that the skipper and top goalscorer will still be at Eastlands for the start of their first Champions League campaign, yet admitted that despite that he remained keen on bringing another striker to the club.
He said: “Tevez is a good player and I believe he is staying at Manchester City. I have three attackers, but we do need another one. Could that be Lavezzi? I like him a lot, but I don’t believe he is worth his £27 million release fee.”
The former Inter boss also conceded defeat in his attempts to capture Udinese star Alexis Sanchez, however it was his comments about Lavezzi that provoked the most attention, with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis mocking his compatriot.
He is quoted in Corriere dello Sport: “We all have the money, but we are here and no one has called us. Hence, this story makes me laugh. My dear Mancini, I feel sorry for you. Evidently, you anticipate moves of Sheikh Mansour that are not true to reality.”
The two teams both have passes to the group stage of Europe’s premier competition, though it is Manchester City that are by far the more fancied of the pair to reach the knockout rounds. They are 10/1 to go all the way, while Napoli are 66/1.