Pellegrini remains quiet on rumored Bony deal to Manchester City
Manchester City must wait a little longer before completing the signing of Swansea striker Wilfried Bony.
The City boss confirmed he is planning to add a forward to his squad but refused to name Bony as their number one target. Swansea boss Garry Monk said on Thursday that talks were ongoing between the clubs over the transfer of the 26-year-old, with a figure of $45 million reported.
Bony made a club record $18 million switch to Swansea from Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem in the summer of 2013 and has since scored 34 goals in 70 appearances for the Welsh club.
City manager Pellegrini said: "I don’t talk about rumors. We are going to replace Alvaro Negredo because it was the decision that we’ve taken that we’re going to sell him. We said we’d see in December if we need another striker. We need another striker so we are going to find which is the best player to play here."
Negredo’s loan move to Valencia, which is due to become permanent in the summer, left City with only three experienced strikers for the first part of the season. And their lack of options in that area were exposed last month when Sergio Aguero, Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko all picked up injuries, meaning midfielder James Milner had to play as a makeshift striker.
City’s transfer dealings are complicated by the restrictions placed on them after they failed to comply with Financial Fair Play rules. The club’s outlay across the summer and winter transfer windows cannot exceed $75 million once money from sales is taken into account. Paying $45 million for Bony would take them over that but Pellegrini believes selling Negredo will give them leeway without having to let go of other players.
He said: "We must be in FFP so I don’t think we are going to spend a lot. We sell already Alvaro Negredo so we have some money to spend."
The other restriction is on City’s Champions League squad, with Pellegrini only able to choose from 21 players in the competition. He said: "At the moment, if we bring another player, we must see which of the players will not be in the squad for Champions League because we don’t have space for a new player but that is a decision we are going to take one day before we need to do it, and that may be around the middle of February."
Defender Matija Nastastic and winger Scott Sinclair have both been linked with moves away from City this month but Pellegrini insisted they will only go if the right offers come in. "They are working with us, Nastasic and Sinclair, without any problem," he said. "They are part of the squad. We will see if there are good offers for them and for the club. If not, they will work with us here."
The City boss reported good news on the injury front, with Aguero, Dzeko and captain Vincent Kompany all in the squad for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Everton. Top scorer Aguero has not played since limping off the pitch in tears early in City’s victory over the same opponents at the Etihad Stadium a month ago and his return ahead of schedule is a major boost.
Kompany suffered his latest muscle injury a week later while Dzeko picked up a calf problem in the Champions League victory over Roma on Dec. 10. City will, though, be without key midfielder Yaya Toure, who has headed off to the African Cup of Nations.
"It is a very important player," said Pellegrini. "We cannot say it doesn’t matter that Yaya is not here. The same thing happens without Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, all the players that for different reasons could not be involved in the games. We have a squad that must play and work in the way we normally do."
City will face an Everton side looking to avoid a fifth straight Premier League defeat, although Romelu Lukaku’s late goal to earn an FA Cup replay against West Ham in midweek was a very welcome boost to Roberto Martinez.
Pellegrini said: "Maybe it is a surprise because they are a very good team with good players. Last season they had a very good season. I think Roberto Martinez is a good manager with a lot of experience here in England but things happen. I am sure at the end of the season they will be in a very good place."