Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Santa and Tevez to be Manchester City’s gifts

Carlos Tevez

Manchester City are closing in on two mega money deals for Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez.

City have reached an agreement with Blackburn to sign Roque Santa Cruz for £18million and the club is also confident of netting Tevez.

The Argentina international’s loan contract at Manchester United runs out in ten days' time and City sources feel the player is as good as theirs.

Santa Cruz’s future has been the subject of intense speculation for some time and he was linked with a move to City during the January transfer window.

Mark Hughes failed to agree a fee for the player and Rovers boss Sam Allardyce was able to keep one of his top players.

Hughes brought Santa Cruz to England in 2007 when he was in charge at Ewood Park.

The 27-year-old enjoyed a superb first season in the Premier League but struggled for form and fitness following Hughes' move from Blackburn to City.

He has regularly been quoted as saying that he could leave Blackburn in the summer and it now appears he may be reunited with Hughes.

While a fee has been agreed, personal terms will need to be sorted out before a transfer can be finalised.

There are doubts about how Santa Cruz will fare in a medical though — he has not played since March after knee surgery and has had longstanding injury problems earlier in his career.

If the switch goes through, Santa Cruz would have an early reunion with his former club, as City go to Ewood Park on the opening weekend of next season.

They already have a formidable set of strikers but Santa Cruz and Tevez would give them formidable firepower.

While there is no announcement expected in the next few days regarding Tevez — his advisor Kia Joorabchian was at Royal Ascot yesterday — City believe that they will start the new season with the striker in their starting line-up.

The European football fraternity is still waiting for the real movement in the transfer market — even the Cristiano Ronaldo deal to Real Madrid has not really set the dominos falling yet.

However, the word around Mark Hughes' staff is that once the major players get moving around the end of this month it will be City who get Tevez for the asking price of £25.5m.

City can offer the best deal to the investment consortium that own Tevez's rights, they can pay the wages he wants and give him the first team football that he has made such a fuss about last season.

Unwilling to be drawn into an auction, the rest of English football is waiting to see who City sign first before making their moves in the transfer window.

Should they get Santa Cruz on board as well as Tevez and Gareth Barry it would be a remarkable summer for City even without the signing of Samuel Eto'o.

While he is still a target, despite wage demands of £190,000 even after tax, the future of the Barcelona striker still rests upon whether his club can replace him.

Nevertheless, the vast wealth of City's owner Sheikh Mansour has allowed them to dominate the market this summer, forcing everyone else to postpone their moves until City have shown their hand.

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