City linked with Kenyan star

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has been linked with a £7m swoop for Parma’s Kenyan midfielder McDonald Mariga after a move for Real Madrid’s Fernando Gago broke down.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has been linked with a £7m swoop for Parma’s Kenyan midfielder McDonald Mariga after a move for Real Madrid’s Fernando Gago broke down.

According to reports, representatives from City and Mariga have had productive talks over the move, which could involve Bulgarian striker Valeri Bojinov heading in the opposite direction on a permanent basis. Bojinov is already on loan at Parma.

City may face frustration in their bid to sign Middlesbrough’s Adam Johnson. City’s initial £5m bid was rejected last week and Boro have refused City permission to speak to the player.

One player heading out of Eastlands could be Benjani Mwaruwari, whose representatives have been talking to Sunderland and could seal a cut-price move before the English transfer window shuts at 5pm on Monday.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce insists any signing of Benjani would not necessarily pave the way for the departure of Kenwyne Jones, with initial interest from Liverpool seemingly cooled.

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish is hoping for an end to his frustration in the transfer market after moves for Tottenham’s Roman Pavlyuchenko and Liverpool’s Ryan Babel appeared to fall through.

Pavlyuchenko may now be heading back to Russia and Babel has been urged to stay at Anfield by Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez. McLeish could look at a loan move for Estudiantes’ Mauro Boselli.

Benni McCarthy’s impending move from Blackburn to West Ham could pave the way for Stoke striker James Beattie to return to his home-town club, with Rovers boss Sam Allardyce interested in the former England man.

Beattie may have to fight for his place at Ewood Park with Jason Roberts, whose link with Wolves appears to have come to nothing with boss Mick McCarthy professing no knowledge of such a move.

Stoke, meanwhile, are still pursuing Portsmouth’s England goalkeeper David James and hope to wrap up a deal.

Boss Tony Pulis said: “We’re obviously desperate to get a goalkeeper in before Monday and he’s our target.”

Victor Moses is heading out of cash-strapped Crystal Palace, with the club’s administrators set to decide on Monday which is the best offer from Newcastle, West Brom or Nottingham Forest.

Chris Hughton’s men are favourites after making it public how much they want Moses, with Hughton admitting: “It’s been well documented we’re very interested in signing the lad. We have a very keen interest.”

Arsenal, however, are unlikely to join the transfer merry-go-round despite continuing to be linked with unsettled Bordeaux star Marouane Chamakh, with boss Arsene Wenger preferring to wait.

Wenger thinks he will get a better deal for the player when he becomes a free agent in the summer.

Wenger said: “It is not impossible (to sign a player in the transfer window) but at the moment it is unlikely.”

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