Manchester City have listed the Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez as one of four targets as they move rapidly to rebuild their strike force after the departure of Carlos Tevez to Juventus.
An Italian and Spanish striker are also in City's sights - Seville's Alvaro Negredo and Roma's Pablo Osvaldo - and with the situation fluid on all players, the fourth individual in contention as the goalscorer City badly needed is Benfica's Oscar Cardozo, who has had a bitter falling out with the Portuguese club's manager and is definitely leaving the club. Benfica are demanding €17m (£14.5m) but would take €15m (£12.8m)
The £20m Gomez is the most exciting prospect though - and open to move from Bayern Munich having fallen down the pecking order following the signature of Mario Mandzukic, with the prospect of a further drop if Robert Lewandowski arrives from Borussia Dortmund, later this summer. The 27-year-old's three goals at last summer's European Championship saw him replace Miroslave Klose as Germany's preferred centre forward but his rapid fall from supremacy has seen his agent admit weeks ago that a summer move is a possibility.
City need a player of Gomez's calibre, with Tevez and Mario Balotelli now gone and Manuel Pellegrini's hopes of Premier League success currently resting on just two recognised strikers - Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko. Gomez has also been linked with Napoli and Chelsea, among others, but on Wednesday, his agent denied suggestions that a deal had been agreed, taking him to Fiorentina. Gomez scored 19 goals last season, despite being used as a substitute most of the time, and began pre-season training with the European Champions 48 hours ago.
At 30, Cardozo is older but has a phenomenal record in Europe and his agent Jorge Mendes is moving him on, following the player's row with manager Jorge Jesus. Cardozo was involved in an angry exchange with Jesus - shoving him when he was substituted 20 minutes from the end of Benfica's Europa League final with Chelsea last month. He was ordered to show up at the club on June 17th, ahead of training starting next Monday and failed to do so. He will now miss the main pre-season training camp at Evian. Rumours of the possibility of Cardozo being a City target have been circulating since last week. A move to the Premier League has become a firmer possibility since a move for the player to Fenerbahce began to fall through because of the club's ban from Champions League football because of a match-fixing conspiracy.
Roma's Osvaldo has been valued at £15.4m, with his own agent suggesting that negotiations with Atletico Madrid are also on the cards. Osvaldo will be known to Pellegrini from his spell in La Liga with Espanyol, whom he left to join Roma in 2011 for €15m (£112.8m). Atletico will offer stiff competition to City and are looking for a striker to replace Radamel Falcao who departed for Monaco earlier this month in a €60m (£51.3m) deal. The Italian international scored 16 goals in 29 Serie A matches last season.
Atletico may also present an obstacle to City in any pursuit of Sevilla's Spaniard Negredo, who was the fourth highest scorer in La Liga last season after Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Falcao and who has told the club president, Jose Maria del Nido, that he wants to play Champions League football to develop his game. He has been at Sevilla for four seasons but the club, ninth in last season's La Liga, are unlikely to help the 27-year achieve his ambition. Del Nido has said that “one of the (interested) teams is Atletico Madrid and the other is outside of Spain. Sevilla will choose the best offer.”
All four of the targets break with the general trend among some clubs to buy younger players with a higher sell-on value. But following Tevez's departure, City need a proven goalscorer who can come in and adapt quickly.
It is unlikely that the 21-year-old Swede John Guidetti might be able to play an immediate part. He is still not full fit and unlikely to be given a place in City's Premier League squad. Though Sunderland are understood to be interested in Guidetti, whose mystery illness rendered him unfit for most of last season, City do rate him and appear to want to keep him. A loan deal - similar to the one in which he flourished for Feyenoord in 2011/12 - is one possibility, though the priority is simply to get the player fit.