Mancini plays down January mega deal

MANCHESTER CITY manager Roberto Mancini has played down speculation that he is planning to make a sensational move for Wayne Rooney and insists he expects the striker to stay at Manchester United.

Despite describing Rooney as a “great player” Mancini denied that his club have made any contact with the England ace and ruled out a bid for the 24-year-old in the January transfer window. Big-spending City are favourites to sign Rooney, who has refused to sign an extension to a United contract that expires at the end of next season.

Mancini said: “At this moment all I can say only that Rooney is a strong player, like Lionel Messi, Fernando Torres and Carlos Tevez. This is my opinion of him as a player. I can say that Rooney is a great player, but I think he will stay at Manchester United. For me he is a Manchester United player, so it is not correct to speak about the situation. I have respect for Rooney, for Sir Alex Ferguson and United, and I only want to speak about my players. Rooney is not my problem. I am Manchester City manager. I have enough problems with my own players.”

While underlining the club’s intention not to make any more major signings in January, Mancini refused to rule out a move for Rooney next summer. He added: “In the summer, if there is a good player available who can change something for us, then we can talk about it, but at this moment I think Rooney will stay at United because he is their player.”

Striker is welcome at Chelsea, says Anelka

CHELSEA striker Nicolas Anelka admits he would welcome the chance to play alongside Wayne Rooney at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are tipped to move for him and Anelka said: “Rooney is a good player, everybody knows his quality, if he wants to come to Chelsea then he is welcome, but I am not the owner.”