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Brighton sign Nigeria international Balogun


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Football Whispers

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Football Whispers
 By PA Sport

City chairman planning swift signings

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has told City TV that the Premier League champions will act swiftly in the transfer market this summer.

• Mooney: Milner exit a potential concern for City
Marcotti: What UEFA's financial fair play ruling means

City are keen to build on their success of 2013-14, in which they won both the league title and Capital One Cup, even though they face a spending cap as a result of UEFA sanctions.

The European governing body has limited City's net outlay on players this summer to 49 million pounds as one of their punishments for breaching financial fair play regulations.

But City said last week that figure would have no "material impact" on planned transfer activity that Al Mubarak now says will begin imminently.

Al Mubarak confirmed that the Premier League champions, who are interested in the Porto pair of Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando and Arsenal's out-of-contract right-back Bacary Sagna, are at an advanced stage of their planning.

City had completed four signings - of Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic - by July 19 last summer, with the Brazilian midfielder secured by early June, even before manager Manuel Pellegrini was officially hired.

Al Mubarak said: "We know exactly what needs to be done. We know exactly the players that need to go and the players that need to come in, the areas that need to be strengthened, the players that we intend to bring in to fill these areas.

"I can tell our fans to expect, as last year, an efficient and swift execution plan. We will have, after the World Cup, a good preseason and we will go into the season very ready, as we did last year, to compete for four championships."

City's actions last summer, including the sacking of Roberto Mancini as manager, put the club back on an upward trajectory after a relatively disappointing end to the 2012-13 season.

Al Mubarak reported that owner Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi has been delighted with progress in the past 12 months.

He said: "Sheikh Mansour feels this club is doing exactly what he intended it to do in terms of performance across the board -- on the field, off field, trophies, championships and wins, but also commercial success, and the fans' support has been unwavering. Genuinely, Sheikh Mansour is absolutely delighted with the way this club, this company, this business is performing."

City did attract criticism after parting company with Mancini, as the Italian had led the club to their first title in 44 years in 2012, but current boss Manuel Pellegrini has taken little time to make a positive impression.

Al Mubarak said: "The decision to hire Pellegrini was a very important decision for us as we look at the next couple of years.

"I am absolutely delighted for him, for the fans, for the club, for everyone involved at Manchester City. It is a perfectly justified decision. I think the results speak for themselves."

One of the next targets for City will be to carry their domestic pre-eminence onto the European stage.

Some progress on this front has been made under Pellegrini, with the club reaching the Champions League knockout stage for the first time.

Al Mubarak said: "This year we have made some progress. We have played much better football, been a lot more competitive and I think the experience coming through the two games against Barcelona will be invaluable for us.

"Let's be clear -- Europe has always been an integral part of our strategy, an integral part of the success we want to achieve for this club. We will continue to progress."

Al Mubarak also paid tribute to two City players, Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry, who are now out of contract and set to leave this summer.

Defender Lescott, signed from Everton in an acrimonious 22 million pound deal in 2009, played a key role in the 2012 title win.

Al Mubarak said: "He is a wonderful man. He has served this club loyally and he has had some of his best performances in his career here at Manchester City.

"I look back at the challenge when we first brought Joleon in and the reaction he had at Everton. It was a tough time for him but I am really happy for him. He came here and had a wonderful career.

"We will miss him and I really want to thank him for all his efforts."

Barry, who also joined the club in 2009, enjoyed four good seasons in the City midfield before joining Everton on loan last summer.

Al Mubarak said: "Gareth is another one of those wonderful players that made a big career decision when he decided to join City.

"He was a loyal player in our squad, fully committed to our cause, had some phenomenal performances. He really was a great player for Manchester City. I really want to wish him all the best going forward."


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