Roberto Mancini has vowed to demonstrate his financial firepower in the summer transfer market.
The Manchester City boss is desperate to outbid any other team to land Lille’s £35million-rated winger Eden Hazard.
He still has Napoli striker Edinson Cavani and Spurs winger Luka Modric, who would each cost £35m, in his sights and is interested in a move for Robin van Persie, for whom Arsenal would demand at least £25m.
But top of his wishlist ahead of Monday’s title showdown with Manchester United is their talisman Wayne Rooney.
“United, Liverpool and Arsenal have spent a lot more than City over the last 10 years,” said Mancini. And asked which United player he would buy, the Italian added: “Rooney. He’s a champion. I’d take Ryan Giggs as well if he could play for five or six more years.”
As for his desire to sign Hazard, Mancini said: “I like him a lot. He’ll do well in our team. Given his technical quality, City would be a perfect destination.”
City failed with an audacious bid to prise Rooney away from Old Trafford two years ago when the striker put in a transfer request after contract negotiations at Old Trafford broke down.
The England striker went on to sign a five-year deal with the Reds until June 2015 and repaired his relationship with their fans by hitting a spectacular overhead kick to win the Manchester derby four months later.
This season Rooney has hit 36 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions – including two in each of his last two games. But City are also in fine form, having hit 12 goals in their last three games. A win over United would put them top on goal difference.
Mancini has also staged a U-turn over Mario Balotelli adding: “He’s young and he makes big mistakes. He has great talent.”
By Darren Lewis