Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has re-opened his transfer feud with the Blues sporting director Brian Marwood.
Mancini has expressed his frustrations more than once this summer at the lack of new recruits.
The anticipated arrival of Robin van Persie now seems certain not to happen, with Manchester United favourites to land the Arsenal star, whilst other targets, including Daniel Agger and Daniele de Rossi have also failed to materialise.
It is fairly obvious City have the finances to fund any deal should they so require.
However, Marwood is having to juggle the demands of meeting Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
That is already going to be difficult given the vast sums City have spent. But with high earners such as Emmanuel Adebayor proving hard to shift, Marwood will not sanction further outlay.
And though Mancini did his best to avoid the issue, a week away from the opening game of City’s Premier League title defence against newly-promoted Southampton at the Etihad Stadium, the Italian’s irritation got the better of him.
“I am not happy,” said Mancini, when asked whether he was content with the way City’s transfers were being done.
“But I won’t say anything at the moment. For this you should talk to Brian Marwood, not me. I am not the sporting director. I can’t say anything about the players.
Though Mancini acknowledges his team deserve their status as Premier League champions, it is clear he feels further improvement is required.
“It is my opinion that we have a good team,” he said.
“But we built this team two years ago and you need to continue to improve in every way.”
Although City have managed to off-load Wayne Bridge on loan to Brighton, they are funding a large percentage of his wages.
A deal is in place for Adebayor to join Tottenham but a stumbling block has been reached about another sizeable chunk of money being demanded by the Togo striker.
In addition, a suitable buyer has yet to be found for Roque Santa Cruz, although there have been rumours of interest from Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen.
The frustrating thing for Mancini is that there has been interest in members of his squad that he does not want to lose, namely Mario Balotelli.
In the wake of his red card at Arsenal in April, which seemed to have cost City any chance of the title, the club may have been tempted to cash in.
Since then though, the 21-year-old redeemed himself by setting up Sergio Aguero’s last-gasp championship clincher.
He then went on to become one of the stars of Euro 2012 as Italy reached the final, where they were beaten by Spain.
“This summer, we had a lot of requests for him,” said Mancini.
Mancini does not believe one tournament alone will be enough to persuade Balotelli to curb his excesses.
However, he does feel his achievements in Poland and Ukraine may help Balotelli realise how much is at risk if he fails to fulfil his promise.
“It is true Mario had a fantastic European Championship,” said Mancini.
“I don’t think he can change his behaviour just because he played very well at the Euros but it can help him.
As Balotelli and David Silva only returned to training six days ago, they are unlikely to start against Chelsea in tomorrow’s Community Shield against Chelsea.
In addition, England duo Gareth Barry and Micah Richards have been ruled out with abdominal and ankle complaints respectively.
The good news for City is that skipper Vincent Kompany is expected to shrug off a calf complaint that forced him to fly home from his club’s Far East tour.
Roberto Di Matteo, meanwhile, says his Chelsea players are hungry for even more silverware this season, starting with the Community Shield.
The Blues finally ended their agonising wait for Champions League glory in May, winning the trophy that had been their Holy Grail ever since Roman Abramovich bought the club nine years ago.
Having achieved their ultimate aim, the biggest danger for Di Matteo and his squad may be motivating themselves to do it all over again.
But manager Di Matteo insisted yesterday that his players — who are also FA Cup holders — had an insatiable appetite for success ahead of a season in which they will compete for an unprecedented seven trophies.
The first of those is up for grabs in tomorrow’s traditional curtain-raiser to the season, the Community Shield, which is being played this year at Villa Park.
“There’s plenty of trophies to win this season,” Di Matteo said.
“We have a very driven team of players and they are never satisfied with what they’ve done in the past.
“It’s a fresh start for us. It won’t be a problem from that point of view.
“There are a couple of trophies our players have never won, and challenging for the Premier League, too.
“We finished sixth last season and I don’t think anybody is happy with that. We certainly have to do better.”
Indeed, avoiding a repeat of their lowest league finish of the Abramovich era has to be a priority for Chelsea, who were a distant 25 points behind City and Manchester United in the final standings.
“There was a big gap last season, and that is one of our challenges this season, to bridge that gap,” Di Matteo said.
“Twenty-five points are a lot of points.
“It’ll be a tough season ahead but we’ll try and compete.”
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