x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Roberto Mancini will be restricted to loan signings in January window

The Manchester City manager has been informed he will not be able to make permanent signings as he prepares to land the club's first league title in 44 years.

Roberto Mancini will only be able to rent, not buy, during the January transfer window.
Roberto Mancini will only be able to rent, not buy, during the January transfer window.

Roberto Mancini has been told he will not be provided with a budget to buy reinforcements for Manchester City's attempt on a first league title in 44 years.

According to sources within the club, the board has informed the manager that sufficient resources have already been invested in transfers for the current Premier League lead to be sustained until the end of the season.

In place of another substantial outlay in fees and long-term contracts, City's hierarchy have told Mancini that he will only be permitted to bring in a loan signing for the second half of the league season and the attempt on the Europa League.

Mancini is expected to use that opportunity to recruit a central midfielder.

His squad stretched by ill discipline, injuries and international call-ups, Mancini has repeatedly pressed his employers to spend in the current transfer window.

His preferred target has been the Italy international Daniele De Rossi, who is in the final six months of his Roma contract but would command a salary of around €8 million (Dh38.2m). Mancini's long standing desire to strengthen his central midfield with De Rossi has been amplified by the loss of Yaya Toure to African Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast. Mancini has also been forced to operate without his most consistent defender, Vincent Kompany, after the City captain was sent off in a FA Cup defeat to Manchester United.

Kolo Toure's national team commitments have forced Mancini to utilise the inexperienced Stefan Savic in central defence. The actions of Joleon Lescott and Mario Balotelli in elbowing and kicking opponents during Sunday's victory over Tottenham Hotspur threaten further three- and four-match suspensions, respectively.

Having remained unbeaten in domestic competition until mid-December, City have now lost cup ties or Premier League points in five of their past 10 fixtures and are in danger of exiting the Carling Cup to Liverpool on Wednesday night.

City's board, however, say Mancini should be able to manage his way out of this difficult period, arguing that they front-loaded expenditures last summer by purchasing Sergio Aguero as a pre-emptive replacement for Carlos Tevez, who has still to move elsewhere. Another £40m (Dh228.8m) was spent acquiring the registrations of Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Savic and Costel Pantilimon, with further substantial commitments made to salaries.