10 August 2012 14:09
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini says that the club’s pursuit of Arsenal striker Robin van Persie is over.
The current Premier League champions are yet to sign anybody this summer, and their inaction to date continues to frustrate Mancini as he looks to build a lasting legacy at the club while turning them into the English game’s dominant force.
The Italian boss has now admitted that the club’s chase for the Dutch forward is all but over, arguing that he is either destined to stay put at the Emirates or move to the club’s bitter rivals Manchester United instead.
“Van Persie is not our player. He is an Arsenal or United player,” Mancini said on Friday.
“These questions you should ask other people. I don’t know what I can say. After three or four months … nothing.
“I think when you win something you should look to improve and buy new players, but not too close to the end. The league was finished in May and I think now it is very difficult to move in the market.
“But I don’t want to talk any more about players, my thoughts are now with the game against Chelsea. Now I have to think about the game.”
When pressed further on whether he was happy with the way that business was conducted with concerns to transfer at the club and the role that the club’s football administrator Brian Marwood plays in negotiations, Mancini didn’t pull any punches.
“You should talk to Brian Marwood for this. Not me. Talk to Marwood please,” he said.
“No I’m not happy. I don’t want to say anything at the moment. For me we have a good team. But we need to continue to improve.”
Meanwhile, Mancini concedes that Manchester United are the favourites for the Premier League title going into the new season.
The two clubs went head-to-head for most of last season and took the race right down to the final game of the season, with Sergio Aguero’s 95th-minute winning strike against QPR deciding the destination of the league crown.
However, Mancini believes Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will be the team to look out for.
“I think United are the favourite team this year,” he said.
“I am confident with my players because we won the league and also because last year we beat a fantastic team like United.
“But you do need to improve at every level. We are a young team and we need to get better, every month, every year.”
With the season’s traditional curtain-raiser against Chelsea in the Community Shield just days away, Mancini is nursing a few selection headaches ahead of the game, with the likes of Mario Balotelli and David Silva still requiring rest and Gareth Barry and Micah Richards consigned to the treatment table.
“Mario (Balotelli) and David (Silva) have had a busy summer, they need more time. They will probably be on the bench,” he said.
“(Micah) Richards, I think will be out for just this game, he has a small ankle problem. Gareth (Barry), I don’t know. I hope that maybe three or four weeks, or one month, but I don’t know.”