Manuel Pellegrini targets £30m Angel Di Maria for Manchester City title challenge
Manuel Pellegrini takes charge of Manchester City this week and will ask Etihad chiefs to sanction a move for £30million Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria, write the Sunday People’s Tom Hopkinson and Steve Bates .
Ex-Malaga boss Pellegrini loves wingers and has already given the thumbs-up to the arrival of Sevilla wideman Jesus Navas – whose £17m City switch was revealed exclusively by Sunday People Sport last week.
Now Pellegrini has made Di Maria – highly rated at the Bernabeu – his next target as City prepare to break the bank to win back the Premier League title.
City have already splashed out more than £50mon Navas and Brazil star Fernandinho, and Di Maria would take their summer spending past the £80m mark.
It may not end there – Spanish playmaker Isco has spoken of a dream move to City, where he would of course link up with his former Malaga boss Pellegrini.
City would not get much change from £20m for 22-year-old Isco. Di Maria may prove to be the most elusive signing, however.
Real have no particular desire to sell Di Maria and Carlo Ancelotti, shortly to be unveiled as Real’s new boss, sees the 25-year-old as an important cog in his Bernabeu squad.
City’s sporting director Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano will fly out to Spain this week for discussions with Real president Florentino Perez.
Perez is ready to play hard-ball over Di Maria and will demand a similar fee to the £34m City paid for Fernandinho.
Di Maria, who has 38 Argentina caps, signed for Madrid for £20m in 2010, agreeing a five-year deal.
Under Roberto Mancini City frequently lacked width – Pellegrini’s plea for Angel delight following the signing of fellow wide boy Navas suggests he believes that’s what cost them the title.
The Chilean boss also knows better than anyone the potential of Isco, who last night issued a barely-disguised come-and-get-me plea to his old gaffer.
The 22-year-old, who started out at Valencia, has emerged as the latest in a long line of classy Spanish playmakers over the last two seasons.
He has been targeted by some of Europe’s biggest clubs, but City appear to have the upper hand over their rivals, with Isco desperate to join Pellegrini.
He said: “Do I want to go to Manchester City? I wish. It might be possible.”
And it is understood that Fernandinho took a financial hit to make his “dream” move to the Etihad happen.
The midfielder moved from Shakhtar Donetsk for £34m which is more than City were initially willing to pay but a compromise was reached.
Fernandinho, capped five times by Brazil, said: “Playing in the Premier League for City is like a dream.”