England midfielders Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere are the surprise names on Manchester City’s summer shopping list.
The struggling Barclays Premier League champions know they need more English players in their starting line-up — goalkeeper Joe Hart has often been the only one this season — and Liverpool’s Henderson and Arsenal’s Wilshere are deemed to be realistic targets.
City also maintain an interest in Liverpool’s unsettled England forward Raheem Sterling, with 36-year-old veteran Frank Lampard set to leave and 29-year-old James Milner likely to follow him out of the Etihad Stadium.
Henderson, 24, has come to City’s attention because he has only one year left on his Liverpool contract.
Their concern about Wilshere, 23, who has over two years left on his Arsenal deal, is his injury record. He has yet to return to Arsene Wenger’s side since having surgery on his troublesome left ankle in November.
There is a well-trodden path between Arsenal and City over the past five years.
The Manchester club, who offer far bigger salaries, have spent £80million on Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy.
And City will certainly need to make bids in excess of £30m to tempt Arsenal or Liverpool to sell.
Not all of City’s targets will be English, though, with the club willing to use France star Nasri and Bosnia forward Edin Dzeko as bait in a deal to sign Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
Pogba, a 22-year-old France international, was on Manchester United’s books before moving to Italy.
City see him as the long-term successor to the fading Yaya Toure, although Pogba could cost as much as £60m. Nasri and Dzeko have had poor seasons and are expected to be part of a summer cull.