Two in, two out up top for Man City as Pellegrini tackles crisis

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Manchester City adopted what has been a time-honoured recent tradition last season, in winning the Premier League with four first-class strikers on their books.

So the decision to defend their crown with only three this term was immediately curious, especially as Alvaro Negredo, who did himself no harm during his debut campaign in top flight, was the one to be farmed out on loan, instead of the injury-prone Stevan Jovetic.

The Montenegrin has shown flashes of his talent since joining the Citizens in 2013, but too many visits to the physiotherapist have derailed his development at the club and it seems his manager is now finally ready to cast the former Fiorentina man aside.

Jovetic’s fitness troubles, along with those of Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, have left the Chilean tactician without a recognised front man for parts of the season and it’s a problem Pellegrini clearly never wishes to have again as he looks to solve the issue this January.

With Negredo’s loan at Valencia able to turn into a £25m permanent deal at the end of the season, the former Villarreal boss is looking to sell Jovetic for another hefty sum this January, while bringing in two new faces up front in the same month.

Talks with Swansea over a whopping deal for Wilfried Bony are ongoing, but it has emerged that the 2/1 title hopefuls also have designs on capturing your Lyon sparkplug Alexandre Lacazette during the winter transfer window too.

The 23-year-old Frenchman is rated a £25m asset by his current club, a fee inflated by the prolific season the forward is currently enjoying.

Lacazette has notched in each of his last five appearances for the former French giants, taking his tally in all competitions for the season to 19 in 20 outings, a haul that already betters his effort of 18 for last season.

With Chelsea proving a tough nut to crack in the race to be crowned Premier League champions, Pellegrini is acutely aware that a healthy stock of strikers will be key to besting Jose Mourinho’s men, as the pursuits of Bony and Lacazette prove.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.