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Big signing imminent?

After a small flurry of signings around a week or so ago, things settled down a little as we headed off to the pre-season trip to Sweden.

We have been continuously linked with players ever since the Eriksson/Shinawatra tandem took over at the helm of the club, with the likes of Yakubu, Castillo and Santa-Cruz most prominently linked.

Now that the club has been de-listed though, attention can once again turn to the arrival of new faces and although he has appeared happy with the players and their attitude, it is certain that Eriksson is looking to strengthen further - with the midfield and attack a definite priority.

Bianchi has impressed all concerned so far, and Corradi seems to have (so far at least) been given a new lease of life under Eriksson after the disappointment of his first season (for which he attributes some of the blame at Stuart Pearce's door) but I don't see that Vassell and Dickov will be given serious consideration and Mpenza may be left to one side now that we are not shopping in the bargain basement.

Midfield is also a crucial area as we certainly lack overall experience (as Hamman and Dabo will not feature I don't believe), although there is plenty of potential there so I think Eriksson will look to add another player, if not a couple.

What was interesting today was the link with Juventus pairing Giorgio Chiellini and Manuel Blasi - and rather than rumour alone, it does appear as though some substance is behind the reports - with agent Davide Lippi (son of Marcelo) stating:

"I am planning to meet Juventus on Tuesday to discuss the
futures of Giorgio and Manuele, Manchester City are interested in both players
and I am going to meet Juventus to see if these moves are possible.
players would be happy to play in the Premier League and Manchester City, but it
all depends on Juventus.
"They both like English football and the fact
Eriksson is there would be a big factor for them to go there.
"However it
depends on the price and whether Juventus want to sell them or
Perhaps proving the Eriksson's name could be a determining factor in any any arrivals, could we be about to see a signing of real intent, players who names would carry some weight throughout the game and hopefully be a real kick on and help draw other big name signings to the club?

Chiellini is one of the brightest talents in the Italian game, but appears to have not found favour with new manager Claudio Ranieri, whilst Blasi was one of the brightest talents in the Italian game but found something of a log jam at Juventus due to their policy of snapping up the best young talent (mainly in order to stop their rivals getting hold of them) and has spent time on loan at Parma, Perugia and Fiorentina - but from seeing him play on a number of occasions I would definitely be excited at the prospect of him in our midfield.

As the season draws closer now, there is beginning to be a sense of real anticipation for this season and whilst Eriksson has done well to keep a lid on things and not go overboard with any predictions or proclamaitions, there is a genuine sense of hope building for the season - something which has been sorely lacking the past couple of campaigns.