Although in the midst of what is our most crucial period of games for quite some time as we bid for Champions League qualification, the press focus this week has all been about transfer activity.
Yesterday it was James Milner and Craig Bellamy who were the focus, but that has been trumped today by a piece from James Ducker in The Times, who reports that we could be set for a huge summer ahead:
City have two transfer strategies, one for if they qualify for the Champions League, the other in the event that they miss out on fourth place in the Barclays Premier League. They are busy laying the groundwork for both eventualities in the hope of gaining a significant headstart in the transfer market before a critical summer for the club.
Mark Ogden in The Telegraph speculates that Stephen Ireland and Micah Richards could find themselves under threat, whilst Ducker goes on to suggest that as a result of this activity could see as many as a dozen players exit the club:
About a dozen players could leave to make way for arrivals, with the futures of Robinho, Stephen Ireland, Martin Petrov, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Roque Santa Cruz, Patrick Vieira, Javier Garrido, Sylvinho, Felipe Caicedo, Benjani Mwaruwari and Michael Johnson all under threat.
As Ducker says, it isn't a huge surprise to think that the club has two strategies in mind - one for Champions League football and one for Europa League qualification, given that the lure of Champions League as much as the money on offer will determine the success of many potential recruits.
Regardless of how we finish this season (and even whether Roberto Mancini is in charge for 2010/11) I'm inclined to believe that the club will be looking at significantly strengthening the squad during the summer and that given the disruption to club football caused by the World Cup, I am certain they will look to make moves sooner rather than later.
The dozen players listed as potential departures is interesting though. Whilst you wouldn't immediately think the club would look to clear the decks so willfully (and it will be important that squad numbers are increased not reduced) the likes of Benjani, Caicedo and Sylvinho do not appear to have a future at the club yet it is names such as Ireland and Wright-Phillips (and maybe even Richards) that arouse most interest as by looking to really kick on and take a leap to the next level, there could be casualties along the way as their future prospects surely won't be helped by an extensive summer of transfer activity.