Belfast Telegraph

Dzeko tops bill with four star show for Manchester City

By Paul Hirst

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Manchester City 5: If this keeps up Manchester City fans, with their backs-to-the-game Poznan celebration, are going to miss a lot of football. What they do see, however, will be worth watching.

SPURS ARE LEFT WITH NEW MODRIC HEADACHE AFTER HAMMERINGDifferent class: Michael Dawson sits in the goal dejected as Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko turns on the style at White Hart Lane yesterday

A forward line to put even Joe Mercer's stylish 1968 champions in the shade, and for that matter the Don Revie-inspired FA Cup winners of a decade earlier, tore Tottenham apart to take their tally of goals to 12 in three matches.

Edin Dzeko, a hapless figure last season with two goals in 15 league appearances, led the way with four goals including a 21-minute hat-trick taking his total this season to six in four. Suddenly the £27m City paid Wolfsburg for the Bosnian in January looks very well spent.

So, too, the £23m laid out to Arsenal for Samir Nasri ((below), last week. The way he, Sergio Aguero, who also scored, and David Silva interchanged positions behind Dzeko, and linked with him and each other, it seemed as if the £112m quartet had been together for years, not three training sessions. Where this leaves Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez, a tempestuous pair who will not have enjoyed another 90 minutes on the bench, is perhaps Roberto Mancini's only worry.

What Luka Modric thought of it is anyone's guess.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp revealed Modric pleaded not to be selected yesterday. Redknapp believes the Croatian is being advised to do everything he can to engineer a move to Chelsea.

City have won all three of their Barclays Premier League matches, scoring 12 goals in the process.

Manager Roberto Mancini, however, was quick to play down suggestions that such form means his side are certain title contenders, saying: “This is a very long season and it's important that we started well. The next games will be very hard because now everyone thinks we will score three or four goals, but that is impossible.”

Modric has been at the centre of a summer-long transfer tussle between his current employers and Chelsea, who have had two bids for the player turned down over the last two months.

Yesterday morning, it was reported the Blues were ready to mount one last £40million bid for the playmaker before the transfer window closes on Wednesday night.

Modric missed Monday night's defeat to Manchester United because he was not “right in the head”, according to Redknapp, but the 64-year-old gave his star playmaker the okay after he came through training fine this week.

Modric started and came through 65 minutes yesterday, but only after Redknapp convinced him that he had to play.

Redknapp said: “Luka came to me at 11.30 this morning and said to me, ‘I don't feel my head is right today'. I said ‘I feel you need to play today, Luka. I need you to play. You need to come and play'.”

The Tottenham boss is convinced the former Dinamo Zagreb player must have been advised to say he was not up to playing in order to try to force through a move to Stamford Bridge.

“I'm sure he is getting advised to maybe not play today. We have seen it with other clubs,” Redknapp added.

“He was okay yesterday morning to play and obviously something happened last night. Who knows what went on. Some of the papers today were saying that they are ready to make a £40million offer. While he still sees a chink of light to go to Chelsea, he is probably doing what maybe people are telling him the best way of getting out of here is.”

Redknapp is still convinced that Modric will stay at the club, but concedes the whole saga, and transfer speculation over the future of his other players, has cast a dark cloud over the club's start to the season.

City and Dzeko ensured there was no silver lining.

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