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2009/10 squad review - forwards

Following the 2008/09 season, Mark Hughes particularly identified the forwards as an area that desperately needed upgrading. For large swathes of that season the attack had featured Robinho plus the likes of Jo, Benjani and Felipe Caicedo and Hughes - quite rightly - saw this as simply not good enough.

Big sums were lavished on Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Emmanuel Adebayor as Hughes overhauled the position. Heading out of the door went Daniel Sturridge in a contentious move to Chelsea, whilst Caicedo, Jo and Valeri Bojinov all went on season long loans.

The bare statistics don't lie and the investment brought a record number of Premier League goals in 2009/10. Carlos Tevez - after a slowish start as he regained full fitness - was excellent. Marrying the work rate seen during his days at United alongside a genuine goal threat, he became the highest league goalscorer for over thirty years and was unlucky to miss out on more wider recognition from his peers. As it was, he was the undoubted player of the year from players, fans and bloggers alike.

At times Tevez played as the lone striker due to the continued travails of Roque Santa Cruz (injury) and Emmanuel Adebayor (suspension and compassionate leave). Santa Cruz's season never got going as he suffered a succession of niggling injuries. Clearly a talented player, he has though done nothing to dispel fears that his fitness record will prevent him ever becoming a regular.

Adebayor had an interesting season. Hardly arriving with the well wishes of Arsenal fans, two seperate lengthy suspensions for retaliation derailed any consistency and of course he had to endure the aftermath of the incident that saw members of the Togo party at the Africa Cup of Nations killed. It is an easy used epithet but Adebayor is a confidence player. He had spells when he looked irresitable and scored continually but when off colour he looks languid, even disinterested, and at times his partnership with Tevez didn't quite gel.

Young striker Alex Nimely continued his progression and made his debut away to Burnley and continues to receive glowing reports over his future whilst David Ball also appears one to watch.

Inevitably, with strikers as the 'glamour position' at the club much speculation and suggestion often surrounds them. Carlos Tevez's pre-derby interview furore appears to have died down and the signs are he is more than happy at the club, whilst a full season for Adebayor should hopefully reap dividends. There are question marks over Roque Santa Cruz but it is hard to imagine a side taking him on with the wages and transfer fee he would command unless the club took a huge hit. Expect him to remain at Eastlands and the brief glimpses he showed may come to fruition next season if he can (finally) stay fit.

It is hard to see Caicedo, Bojinov or Jo making a return to City colours. Bojinov has plenty of admirers in Italy, and appears keen to make a return which would be a shame as he has fought back from injury twice and those who saw him in Serie A prior to his arrival know how good a player he is.

Caicedo, so full of promise and raw talent may find that the club has simply moved on without him and he is better served elsewhere where he can find more opportunity whilst Jo is someone who is destined to be farmed out to whoever is willing to take him until his contract ends. When that time comes, he will surely be classed as the most expensive bust in the clubs history.

As for players in, there isn't necessarily an overwhelming need to spend but from the noises Mancini has made if Fernando Torres was available (and willing) he would snapped up whatever the cost. Similarly you feel if David Villa indicated a desire to come to England the club would consider an offer. These are the truly elite though in terms of goalscoring talent, and despite the failure to qualify for the Champions League you do not feel that the club will necessarily lower the bar in terms of acquisitions.

The wildcard of the summer could be Zlatan Ibrahimovich. Seemingly ostracised at Barcelona after just one season, Ibrahimovich is known to Mancini and has a fantastic goalscoring record. The concerns though are that his attitude may not be right - at times making Adebayor look a hive of activity, yet he does possess an undeniable talent. Perhaps the English game would be more suited to him than La Liga and if he is available we do appear the only side to be able to match the fee and resulting wages.

I have no doubt it would be the most universally popular signing but if it did come off it could be a signing that could really elevate the side. Whether the signing happens or not, it is likely to be the transfer saga that could drag on all summer.