City transfer talk: 17 August – Milner medical, Balotelli introduced, Ireland and Bellamy on their way!

Another huge day for City in the transfer market sees a deal for James Milner finally agreed with Stephen Ireland heading to Villa in part exchange. The exact breakdown of the deal isn’t clear with figures of between £16m and £18m said to be going to Villa plus extras. Ireland may be getting £1m for his pay-off.

Milner left training with Villa and headed up to Manchester for a medical which should be completed either today or tomorrow according to Daniel Taylor of The Guardian.

It will be interesting to see where Milner plays under Mancini. His best position is in the middle. This would make him a direct swap for Ireland, and battling Silva for a place in the team. Both Milner and Silva can play on the wing, but neither has great pace.

Cardiff are to be congratulated on beating a host of clubs to the loan signing of Craig Bellamy. Whilst Ireland was always going to struggle to get into the team following the signing of Silva, there was a much stronger case for Bellamy’s inclusion.

Gareth Barry played a portion of the Tottenham game on the left flank whilst Shaun Wright-Phillips had a shocker on the right. Bellamy would have offered more than either of them.

It’s worth noting that with Bellamy’s departure, City are left with just two senior out and out wingers in Adam Johnson and Wright-Phillips. There’s a good chance that Mario Balotelli will play a wide role initially rather than as a central striker. In this respect he is the replacement for Bellamy and it’s possibly no coincidence that Bellamy’s departure was only sanctioned after Mario had signed.

Balotelli was formally introduced as a City player in a press conference today. The 20-year-old spoke through a translator and it will be fascinating to see how quickly he adapts to the Premier League. At least Balotelli believes in the manager.

Mario Balotelli:

“It was very important that Roberto Mancini is the manager here. It was one of the most important factors in my move – if he wasn’t here, I probably wouldn’t have come.”

Mancini has wasted no time backing the striker by adding him to our Europa League squad apparently.

Daniel Taylor, The Guardian:

Mario Balotelli has been added to #MCFC 25-man Europa League squad . . with Roque Santa Cruz being told today he is out

Not good news for Santa Cruz coming after the Spurs game where he saw Jo named on the substitutes bench ahead of him. When you’re behind Jo in the pecking order of senior strikers at City it’s surely time to pack your bags.

Just to further the bad news for Santa Cruz, the speculation of a Robinho / Ibrahimovic swap continues despite denials from Barca.

Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barca vice-president:

“Until today, Manchester City not have placed money on the table for the sale of Ibrahimovic.”

Not making a bid isn’t the same as not having discussions, and Barca also acknowledge they may be in the market for a signing.

Congratulations to Greg Cunningham on signing a new contract. The 19-year-old left-back could be seeing more first team action than anticipated with Kolarov and Bridge both injured.

Today’s departures of Bellamy and Ireland see the squad looking much closer to the required 25. In terms of big money signings, the only remaining question is whether City seek an upgrade on Jo and Santa Cruz.

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City
City transfer talk: 18 August – Ibra against City move, Newcastle and Stuttgart after Weiss

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