City dismiss Barry-Lavezzi swap talk
Published 20:35 06/07/11 By MirrorFootball
Manchester City have rejected suggestions Gareth Barry's future at the club is in doubt.
Speaking in a radio interview earlier today, the agent of manager Roberto Mancini, Giorgio De Giorgis, revealed an interest in Napoli's highly-rated forward Ezequiel Lavezzi.
That in itself would be no surprise given the striker's growing reputation and his presence at the Copa America with the hosts Argentina.
But what set alarm bells ringing at Eastlands was Giorgis' observation that in order to facilitate a deal between the two clubs, who remain poles apart in their valuation of Lavezzi, Barry could be involved as a makeweight.
A less likely candidate to join Napoli it is hard to imagine.
There has never been any suggestion of Barry having a wish to play abroad, nor indeed a feeling that Mancini is unhappy with the England midfielder.
In fact, Barry was a regular member of Mancini's starting line-up last season and was part of the team that defeated Stoke in the FA Cup final at Wembley in May to secure the Blues' first trophy in 35 years.
And tonight a City spokesperson has confirmed the 30-year-old will be remaining exactly where he is.
"Mr Giorgis is not mandated by the football club to deal with transfers in or out of Manchester City," the spokesperson said.
"Furthermore, there is no intention to sell Gareth Barry, who remains a valued member of the team."
City have been forced to tread a diplomatic line due to Giorgis' status.
And tellingly there was no rejection of his claim that an interest in Lavezzi exists.
Indeed, with Carlos Tevez's position now shrouded in doubt, it would be no surprise if Mancini did pursue an initial interest in a player who netted six times in 31 league appearances on Napoli's charge to Champions League qualification last term.
"(City) has been negotiating for the past few months with Napoli, regardless of Tevez's situation," De Giorgis told CRC.
"However, to find a player who is ready, like Pocho (Lavezzi), is not easy."
Rumours also continue to circulate around a possible bid for Arsenal's Samir Nasri, although City officials have distanced themselves from claims of a £20million transfer being imminent.
So, it seems Mancini will head to the United States for a pre-season tour with just two new faces after Stefan Savic signed a four-year contract after being granted a work permit to become City's second signing in three days following the arrival of Gael Clichy.
The 20-year-old Montenegro defender is one of the most highly rated young defenders in Europe and a fee of £10million has been mentioned, five times what Arsenal could have paid for him 12 months ago.
Arsene Wenger had doubts though, which allowed Partizan Belgrade to step in, since when Savic has enjoyed title-winning success in Serbia.
There had been some suggestion Partizan may try to hold onto the player for a couple of weeks to ensure a safe passage through their Champions League second qualifying round encounter with Macedonian opponents FK Skendija.
That has not happened, with Savic eager to start his new challenge.
"The Premier League is the best in the world and I am happy to be here," he told www.mcfc.co.uk.
"City have a very good team and have been together for a few years. We have enough quality to win some trophies."
Dressing room relationships should be interesting.
In Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Dzeko, Savic has a couple of fellow Balkans, who share a common language if not nationality.
But, including Barry, there are also five England internationals who will be desperate to deny Savic a place at Euro 2012 when Fabio Capello's team travel to Montenegro in October with an automatic qualification place virtually certain to be at stake.
"We are a small country but we have played very well in this qualification," Savic said. "We drew 0-0 at Wembley, which was an historical result for us.
"Now we have 11 points like them and we have a chance to reach Euro 2012. We have to play England once more and I can say it will not be easy for them."