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City hope to sign "world superstar" in Jan

Manchester City are set to go hog-wild in the January transfer window if reports which suggest their wealthy Arab owners are chasing the biggest names in football are to be believed. The Independent says the Abu Dhabi United Group are determined to land a "world superstar" by the time January finishes. Kaka and Lionel Messi lead the list, closely followed by Fernando Torres, Carlos Tevez, Samuel Eto'o and even Cristiano Ronaldo.

It is suggested that the new proprietors would be willing to pay upwards of £70m for a new star to play alongside Robinho, who they signed for £32m in September.

This free-spending policy will be the next stage in a bid to establish City as a suitable destination for the game's top names.

A source, supposedly close to the discussions, said: "They are going for a big player. If they really want to be a big club and move to a new level they need to get a big player in, and that would mean one of Kaka, Messi, Ronaldo or Tevez, because of his availability. Unless a player like that can be signed then it will be a struggle, and the sooner it is done the better, which means trying to do so in January. Then others will follow."

Manager Mark Hughes also has a wish-list for less starred names, which include Roque Santa Cruz, Wayne Bridge, Lassana Diarra and Benfica's Luisao. Other big-name targets are Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and Valencia striker David Villa, but these are believed to be assigned as summer purchases.

The owners have looked at how Chelsea, in the early years of Roman Abramovich's reign, went about signing players such as Juan Sebastian Veron, Hernan Crespo and Adrian Mutu rather than concentrating on one or two superstars. City believe that strategy has, ultimately, proved wasteful and sense they can make a bigger impact by signing a huge name.


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