CARSON, Calif. — Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini revealed on Sunday that he believes the club could be less than a week away from bagging arguably its biggest prize yet: Sergio Agüero.
The superstar Argentine striker has been linked to every club with money over the past couple of years, from Chelsea to Real Madrid. But Mancini said after City’s penalty-kick victory over the LA Galaxy that club management is deep into discussions with Atlético Madrid and may have news soon.
“I hope we can close this deal in the next four or five days, seven days,” Mancini said.
Reports out of Europe say Agüero did not show up for training at Atlético this past weekend, which has fueled speculation of the move rumored to be as much as $60 million.
There is no new news about Agüero’s fellow Argentine national-teamer, City captain Carlos Tévez, however, who has been looking for a move out of Manchester. Mancini says he’s holding out hope Tévez will return to training on August 4 ahead of the holding FA Cup champions’ Community Shield match vs. Premier League champions Manchester United at Wembley Stadium three days later.
Tévez is reportedly being wooed by Inter Milan — Mancini’s former club — after a deal for the striker to return to Brazilian club Corinthians fell apart last week.
Coincidentally, Man. City are scheduled to face Inter in a friendly next weekend in Dublin, Ireland.
A way of life at City
Big-name rumors have become part of life at Manchester City since the club was purchased by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 2008. The Abu Dhabi oil magnate has spent some $2 billion in upgrading the club, both on the pitch and in facilities and other deals.
Midfielder James Milner, who joined the club himself in a deal worth $40 million last summer, admits it’s exciting to be part of an organization where it seems no player is out of reach.
“I’m fortunate enough to be playing with some of the best footballers in the world,” the English international said. “Obviously the names that are said in the media — as players, you can’t do anything about it, but it’s exciting to hear these sort of players might be coming to the club.
Praise for LA
After the third stop in City’s West Coast tour, which also included stops in Vancouver to play the Whitecaps and San Francisco to face CD Guadalajara, Mancini offered due praise and respect to Sunday’s opponents, who he said were the most difficult his side has faced on its North American swing.
“This game was harder than the other two games because the Galaxy is a good team,” the Italian said.
That may not sit all that well with a few Chivas fans, but Galaxy fans will take the compliment.
Mancini also revealed that central midfielder Yaya Touré returned to light training Saturday, his first action since tweaking his ankle in the Vancouver match last Monday. The big Ivorian had to be helped off the pitch at Empire Field after just 35 minutes.
Touré’s might will be needed this season for Manchester City, and Mancini said he expects the two-time World Cup veteran to return to the lineup in time for the team’s two-game exhibition slate next weekend at the Dublin Super Cup.