Pellegrini wishing for a star

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini believes the club may need to splash out again this summer to keep pace with their rivals.

With hopes of retaining the Barclays Premier League crown looking increasingly forlorn, City have again failed to build on a title success.

They were hampered last summer, however, with their punishment for breaching the Financial Fair Play regulations of European governing body UEFA including a £49million net spending cap.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini watches his players during a training session at the City Football Academy

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini watches his players during a training session at the City Football Academy

A return to the heavy spending of the era immediately after Sheikh Mansour's 2008 takeover is clearly not an option, for fear of invoking even tougher sanctions, but Pellegrini has warned they cannot stay idle.

Pellegrini recently spoke of a need to sign a 'crack' player - in other words a superstar of the calibre of striker Sergio Aguero - and has now suggested this summer is the time to do it.

The Chilean, whose side have slipped to fourth place ahead of Monday's trip to Crystal Palace, said: "Well, it is just the way of thinking, that big teams need to sign a big player. It is very difficult to do it every year - but every two years you must do it.

"I'm not just talking about Manchester City. You see Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Bayern Munich - all the big clubs - they all do it. It is important to have big names."

Given the general disappointments of last summer's principle signings - Fernando, Bacary Sagna and Eliaquim Mangala - Pellegrini's words could be perceived as a plea for more cash.

But when pushed further, Pellegrini, perhaps not surprisingly given that his own position could be uncertain, would not say whether a spending spree might be sanctioned.

He said: "I don't want to talk about (plans) for next season because we have to finish this season. It is very important the way we finish this season before we analyse all the players. So it is not the right moment to talk about it."

Pellegrini's immediate concern is his side's league position. Results elsewhere have seen City drop two places over the weekend and, although Pellegrini has not given up on the title, he clearly cannot even take the runners-up spot for granted.

He said: "Well we are not thinking about just one team. I think it is important for our team to finish at the top of the table but if we can't win the Premier League then we must try to be second.

"But it is important to play from now until the end of the season in a way that shows you are an important team and are prepared to fight until the last game to try and retain the title."

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