Mancini targets Spaniard to replace Balotelli

villa.jpgThere was disappointment amongst the neutrals in the Football Transfer Tavern following the news Mario Balotelli will be departing the Premier League, although John Cross of the Daily Mirror has softened the blow by revealing Roberto Mancini’s replacement target.

A move for Barcelona forward David Villa is reportedly in the pipeline for Manchester City, with it being reported that Mancini is lining up a deadline day bid for the Spanish forward.

Arsenal have long been linked with the 31-year-old, but it appears Arsene Wenger has given up the chase.

It was revealed Balotelli will join AC Milan after undergoing a medical today, for a fee that could rise to as much as £19 million.

It is understood City have since made an enquiry about Villa, who they hope to rush a deal through for before tomorrow nights transfer deadline.

Ex-Barca officials Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain – now City’s chief executive and sporting director respectively, are hoping to use their contacts at their former club to help seal a deal.

Barcelona have said they do not want to sell the striker, but the Citizens are hoping £15m will be enough to convince them to part with a 31-year-old with a relatively poor injury record.

Villa has struggled to re-establish himself in the Barcelona team this season after missing the whole of the 2011/12 season with a broken leg.

Mancini hopes the forward’s experience and undoubted quality will prove crucial in the outcome of the title race.

Is Villa heading to the Etihad in a last minute deal? Rate this rumour below.

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