Belfast Telegraph

Battle of big spenders

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has admitted clubs have to pay over the odds if they want to get hold of decent players in January.

The two most expensive purchases of the current transfer window will be on show at Villa Park today when City visit Aston Villa.

It will allow a direct comparison between the Blues' £27million new-boy Edin Dzeko and Darren Bent, who could cost Villa £24million following his shock switch from Sunderland.

Spending of that magnitude is one of the reasons why Sir Alex Ferguson is amongst those who feel there is no value in the transfer market. The counter argument is that clubs must stump up the going rate if they want to get the players they need.

And in January, Mancini feels that means coming up with a little bit more.

“I am happy Aston Villa spent that money on Bent. It shows that it is not just Manchester City doing it,” Mancini smiled.

“When you want to take a player in January, you must pay more than at the end of the season.

“I don't know how much Aston Villa have paid for Darren Bent and I don't know if we paid the right money for Edin Dzeko.

“But Bent and Dzeko were on the market. Real Madrid are looking for a striker now and they can spend money. But it is difficult.”

It could also be argued Villa are paying a premium because of Bent's nationality. English players often cost far more than their continental counterparts.

“Sometimes English players do cost a lot of money,” admitted Mancini. “But Darren Bent was an important player for Sunderland.”

City beat Villa 4-0 at Eastlands last month, Mario Balotelli — ruled out today with a knee injury — scoring a hat-trick.

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