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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Mancini reiterates need to spend

After securing a place in next season's Champions League, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini insists the club must strengthen their squad this summer in order to keep the pace on the continent and domestically.

Mancini, who guided City to their first silverware in 35 years by winning this year's FA Cup, has also suggested that City need to be more like illustrious cross-town rivals Manchester United, and will put that point forward at a meeting in Abu Dhabi with club chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, on Tuesday.

"Look at Manchester United," Mancini told the Sun. "They can play 11 men in a Champions League semi-final and then change nearly all those players for the league game.

"We don't want to be like Tottenham who put all their energy into the Champions League and, after that, lost points in the league.

"We have improved 200% in one year but now we are being asked to play and beat the likes of Barcelona. City need to improve, we need to buy other good players and, on top of that, some young players who during the year can improve and come into the first team."

The meeting between Mancini and Al Mubarak is expected to revolve around the Italian's desire to bring stars such as Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Udinese front-man Alexis Sanchez to Eastlands. City reportedly have up to £120 million to spend on recruits before the new UEFA Financial Fair Play guidelines come into effect.

"If we want to lessen the gap between ourselves and the others we have only two months. Last year all the players got together late. I want all my players at the beginning of July ready to go for pre-season," Mancini said.

Meanwhile, Mancini has denied claims that he gave striker Mario Balotelli permission to return home early, with the enigmatic 20-year-old missing the club's FA Cup parade earlier this week.

Balotelli has been surrounded by controversy since joining from Inter Milan in 2010, and was allegedly caught by Italian television throwing water bombs at Serie A club chiefs whilst his team-mates were attending the parade in Manchester on Monday.

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