Hello City! Please Come And Get Me..

Manchester City's top January transfer target Edin Dzeko has taken the remarkable step of writing to the club to say that he wants to join them. As City consider how much they can afford to offer German club Wolfsburg for the striker in January, it is understood that the 24-year-old Bosnia star wrote to City in August and outlined his interest in a move to Eastlands. News of his extraordinary move will not please Wolfsburg manager Steve McClaren, but it will hearten City fans currently angry at the transfer request handed in by Carlos Tevez.

City eventually pulled out of the running for Dzeko's signature in the summer when Wolfsburg pushed the asking price above £30million and forward Craig Bellamy refused to become part of the deal by moving to the Bundesliga club. However, City boss Roberto Mancini told his board several weeks ago that he was keen to try again for Dzeko in January as it became clear to him that Emmanuel Adebayor, Jo and Roque Santa Cruz were not proving good enough. The recent developments regarding Tevez have only hardened Mancini's belief that he needs another forward and it is known that City have now made the acquisition of Dzeko their top priority regardless of whether Tevez leaves next month.

In public Dzeko has been coy about his future while Italian clubs such as City's Europa League rivals Juventus have briefed Italian journalists that he wants to move to Serie A. However, one of his representatives was a guest of City at last month's Manchester derby which, allied with this latest development, suggests City are in pole position. One thing that will certainly influence Dzeko's thinking is the fact that Wolfsburg are currently having a difficult season and are fifth from bottom of the Bundesliga. Dzeko has scored eight league goals in 16 games but recently had a public spat with McClaren, ignoring his manager's outstretched hand after being substituted against Werder Bremen earlier this month.

City manager Mancini will meet with his squad in Turin ahead of Wednesday's game at Juventus but Tevez will not be with them. Mancini has been in Italy undergoing minor eye surgery since the weekend but has left instructions for the 26-year-old not to travel with what is essentially a reserve team. Tevez returned to City's training centre on Tuesday as requested after a four-day break in Tenerife. The South American seemed in decent spirits as he trained with the club's second string - the team who won without him at West Ham on Saturday were given the day off.

Club sources revealed that Tevez had a conversation with coach David Platt but the bulk of discussions about his future will take place with Mancini when City get back from Italy on Friday. Another player who will not travel to Turin is City's Italian striker Mario Balotelli. The 20-year-old is not needed for what is essentially a dead rubber and has been spared the possibility of a repeat of the recent racist insults he received when playing for his national team. Balotelli is relieved not to have that problem in England.

Balotelli said, "The day I arrived at City it was three black boys who asked first for my autograph, and I presented them with my white cap. I am proud to be black and Italian. I've learned from my family that no-one is "upside down" simply because he speaks, prays or thinks differently. I do not know what more I can say about these things. Maybe these people came to the game because they do not even have a television set at home. I have learned through experience that it is better to ignore them and pretend nothing has happened but thank God I do not have to know the people who are insulting me."

Exclusively by Ian Ladyman

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