Manchester City have designs on Edinson Cavani, their tormentor in chief

In the summer of 2010, it emerged that Manchester City were targeting a whole new strikeforce of Fernando Torres, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli, having already spent £75m the previous summer on Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Craig Bellamy and Roque Santa Cruz. Had Chelsea not muscled in with an obscene bid for Torres, City may well have completed the set, eventually signing Balotelli for £24m in August and Dzeko the following January for £32m.

These moves were preceded by public declarations of admiration: “We are always interested in good players. If Inter decide to sell Balotelli, we will be there” followed claims that: “Certainly Dzeko is more than just an interest.” History appears to be repeating itself, with Roberto Mancini recently eulogising: “I like Edinson Cavani. He is a fantastic striker who works for the team.” If the Uruguayan’s performances against Mancini’s men in the Champions League this season constituted his audition for the role of Carlos Tevez’ replacement, Cavani appears to have nailed the part.

Having opened the scoring in the 1-1 draw between the sides in September, Cavani netted a brace on Tuesday in a 2-1 win, reigniting Napoli’s campaign while seriously jeopardising City’s prospects of qualifying for the knockout stages. City host group winners Bayern Munich in the final round of fixtures, while Napoli, who are a point ahead of City, travel to winless Villarreal.

With Tevez ostracised, City currently boast Dzeko, Balotelli and Sergio Aguero as their striking options. The potent trio have already racked up 33 goals between them in all competitions and offer differing and complimentary characteristics, with the power and physical presence of Dzeko leading the line, plus Balotelli’s pace and maverick talent. In Aguero, they already have the natural heir to Tevez, sharing the same stocky build, deft close control and a keen eye for goal, comfortable up front or in a more withdrawn role.

Despite plundering goals at will thus far, City lack an out and out goalscorer, which justifies the logic behind their pursuit of Cavani, who may be the best in the business at present. Off the back of his debut season at Napoli, where he bagged 33 goals in 47 games, he inspired an unexpected title challenge and eventual third place finish. The deal that has been touted involves a £30m fee and wages in the region of around £170,000 a week, which would represent a considerable improvement on his current contract, which is believed to be worth €1.3m a year with a €100,000 bonus for every ten goals scored.

City put their continental concerns to one side and returned to league action on Sunday, with a 1-1 draw at Anfield, a result which maintains their five point lead over Manchester United, who themselves were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle on Saturday. Aguero, Dzeko and Balotelli all featured and failed to find the net as City dropped points for only the second time this season. Despite relatively disappointing league form so far this term, Cavani bagged a vital equaliser for Napoli in Atalanta, showing the strikers instinct that could have made all the difference against Liverpool. Napoli are keen to retain his services but should Manchester City formally register their interest in the summer, it is unlikely that they will take no for an answer.

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