Manchester City demand €31.5m for Dzeko as negotiations with AC Milan continue to stall

By Greg Stobart

Manchester City are demanding €31.5 (£25) million for Edin Dzeko after rejecting an approach from AC Milan to sign the striker on a season-long loan.

City have told the Italian club that they will not entertain any offer to take the Bosnian on a temporary basis with a view to a permanent switch next summer.

However, Roberto Mancini is willing to listen to offers for Dzeko as he looks to raise funds and create room in the squad to bid for Arsenal captain Robin van Persie.

Milan wanted to take Dzeko on loan and pay his £170,000-a-week (€215,000) wages in full – but City rejected their approach, just as they did when the Italian giants made a similar bid for Carlos Tevez in January.

The Premier League champions are also well aware that Milan received €65m (£50.5m) following the double sale of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain last month.

Dzeko, who cost €34m (£27m) and has three years remaining on his contract, has complained about a lack of first-team opportunities after finding himself out of the side for much of last season – but still managed to score 14 Premier League goals.

And he hinted at the possibility of a summer transfer at the weekend, speaking after City’s 2-0 friendly win over Wolfsburg, saying: “I always follow the Italian league and one day I would like to play in it. I also know that Milan has sold two of its best players.

“For now I am a City player, but to be sure I will stay here I will have to wait until the end of the month. I’ll see what happens, and if someone else comes in.”

However, Mancini insisted on Sunday that he does not expect Dzeko to leave City this summer.

“It’s pretty unlikely he will leave,” the Italian told reporters.

“He is right to say it’s no fun being on the bench but when you join a big club then competition is normal.”

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Mancini admits Dzeko likely to stay at Manchester City

Roberto Mancini has admitted striker Edin Dzeko is likely to stay at Manchester City and compete for a place alongside their other attacking talent.

The forward becmae frustrated with a lack of game time during last season, and has been linked with a move to AC Milan over the summer, while City appeared to be targeting Arsenal’s wantaway forward Robin van Persie.

But manager Roberto Mancini insisted Dzeko would stay at the Etihad, and told reporters: “It’s pretty unlikely he will leave.

“He is right to say it’s no fun being on the bench but when you join a big club then competition is normal.”

The Bosnian started just 16 of his 30 appearances for the club last season, but contributed 14 goals, including a vital late equaliser in City’s title-clinching victory over QPR on the last day of the season.

He scored twice on Sunday in City’s 4-0 victory over Irish side Limerick, in which Dedryck Boyata and Luca Scapuzzi also struck.

Mario Balotelli and David Silva were absent for the match, and reported for pre-season training only last week after an extended holiday following Euro 2012.

Coach David Platt hinted that the pair may need to be eased in to the start of the season, adding: “They are behind the other lads. We don’t know if they will be ready to start games.”

The game was marred by claims a banana was thrown at City defender Gael Clichy, which Irish police are investigating.

Clichy later tweeted: “How sad to see bananas thrown on the pitch, knowing people around the world need food.”

A statement from Limerick read: “The individual will be banned from all future games and the matter will be passed on to the police.”

Dzeko: I am too good for the Manchester City bench

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko has warned manager Roberto Mancini that he may leave the club if he is not handed more first-team opportunities.

The 26-year-old former Wolfsburg striker joined the Premier League champions for £27 million in January of last year.

However the Bosnian started just 16 Premier League games last season, despite scoring an impressive 14 goals, including the injury time equaliser against Queens Park Rangers on the final day of last season which set up City’s fairytale title triumph.

He told The Sun: “In the second half of last season, I suddenly got to start far fewer games — and I’ve got no idea why.

“I lost my rhythm. I joined City in order to play in matches.

“I never imagined that things would turn out the way they have.

“I am too good for the bench. If I continue to sit matches out, then anything is possible.”

Dzeko began the season as one of Mancini’s preferred strikers but soon fell behind Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and later Carlos Tevez in the pecking order.

Lombardo believes Dzeko has a future at Manchester City

Manchester City coach Attilio Lombardo believes striker Edin Dzeko still has a future at the club.

Despite notching 14 goals in 28 Premier League games last season, the Bosnian found himself in and out of manager Roberto Mancini’s starting line-up, particularly after Carlos Tevez’s return to action late in the season.

While Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz look set to depart the club, City still have Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero on their books and have been linked with Arsenal star Robin van Persie – however, Lombardo does not expect Mancini to let a player of Dzeko’s calibre leave the club.

“Dzeko is a big player, and I think Manchester City want big players,” Lombardo told Sky Sports News following City’s pre-season defeat to Oldham Athletic.

“It is not surprising because Dzeko for me is a player who can play here again for more time, but I don’t know.”

Adebayor looks set to complete a move to Tottenham, but the former Juventus player could not provide an update on the Togo international’s current situation.

When asked if any other clubs were interested in the 28-year-old, Lombardo simply replied: “I don’t know.”

Manchester City deny Dzeko agent exit claims

Manchester City have moved to deny rumours that Edin Dzeko is close to joining AC Milan, following reported claims from the player’s agent.

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that the Bosnia & Herzegovina international’s representative, Sead Susic, was “70 per cent” sure of his client completing a move to Serie A.

However, his current club have now dismissed the suggestions, insisting that they are not aware of the alleged source of the quotes, Mr Susic.

A club statement read: “The club have no knowledge of the so called spokesman Mr Susic, nor has it given a mandate to any third party to discuss the transfer of Edin Dzeko, who remains a Manchester City player.”

Dzeko has struggled for consistency since joining the Etihad side in January 2011 for £27 million following a prolific spell with Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.

It has been reported that Roberto Mancini would be willing to offload the striker should he secure the services of Robin van Persie from Arsenal.