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Five players Manchester City should sign

Sports Mole picks five players who could improve Manchester City's fortunes in both the Premier League and the Champions League.

Not many teams have produced a limper defence of their Premier League title than the one that Manchester City did last season.

Having won it in such dramatic circumstances - and at the expense of their bitterest rivals Manchester United - many expected the Citizens to push on under Roberto Mancini and make further impressions at home and abroad. That failed to materialise, though, and having ended the campaign without a trophy, Mancini was told to clear his desk.

Many believe that the club's poor dealings in the transfer market (Scott Sinclair anyone?!) was a major factor behind the team's poor performances.

The new man at the helm, Manuel Pellegrini, has moved swiftly to rectify that by bringing in Fernandinho and Jesus Navas, but more additions are needed. Here, Sports Mole has identified five players who we believe would help City return to the top.

Yuto Nagatomo, Inter Milan

Neither Gael Clichy nor Aleksandar Kolarov were able to make the left-back spot their own last season. While both showed that they can be very able defenders, injuries and loss of form left the position up for grabs more often than not.

In addition, if reports are to be believed, Kolarov is of interest to Italian champions Juventus and should that deal be finalised, City would need a fresh face in that area of the pitch.

He may not be a household name in world football, but Nagatomo has emerged as one of Serie A's best full-backs with Inter Milan. He has bundles of energy and although he likes to get forward and support his teammates, he has the pace to retreat and is rarely caught out of position.

Some foreign recruits find it hard to settle in when they first arrive in England, but Nagatomo would be near one of his closest friends Shinji Kagawa, who joined Manchester United last summer.

Inter's Antonio Cassano is congratulated by team mate Yuto Nagatomo after scoring the equaliser against Siena on Febraury 3, 2013© PA Photos

Marquinhos, Roma

With Kolo Toure gone, Joleon Lescott potentially departing and Micah Richards seemingly being made out of glass, City need a centre-back. Having said that, they wouldn't need one of the biggest names in the game because Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic are a decent partnership.

Perhaps an up and coming youngster, who would be content with sitting on the bench from time to time (for a while at least) would fit the bill.

He may only be 19 but Marquinhos's performances in a Roma shirt last season are thought to have attracted a number of clubs, including City.

The centre-back has the typical traits you'd expect from a Brazilian footballer. He's comfortable in possession and he always tries to look for a teammate rather than simply aiming for row z. There isn't too much of the David Luiz about him, though - he knows when to get rid!

He is said to be happy in Rome, but the offer of Champions League football with City could be appealing.

Thiago Alcantara, Barcelona

You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't apply yourself in the right way, it is worthless. That's a description that could easily fit Samir Nasri, who has failed to produce the goods for City on a consistent basis since his switch from Arsenal in 2011.

Clubs back in France reportedly want him and City may as well cash in on the 25-year-old while he still has a decent value. But who do City get to replace him?

It's no secret that Pellegrini's first choice is Isco - a player he nurtured at Malaga. However, reports in Spain say that he has all but signed for Real Madrid.

So who is next? Again, if speculation is to be believed, Thiago is Manchester United-bound. Perhaps there is some wiggle room and a chance for City to steal in at the 11th hour?

They lost out on Robin van Persie last August and his goals helped to fire United to the Premier League title. City were thought to have been interested in Barca's Thiago, despite their pursuit of Isco.

Providing that they have enough time to resurrect the deal, they may well look to swoop in under the noses of their neighbours from across the city and gain some revenge for the loss of Van Persie.

Thiago stretches for possession against Athletic Bilbao.© PA Photos

Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich

Pellegrini has shown with his previous clubs that he is a manager who likes his sides to play with width - the signing of Navas proves as much.

When you look at the current City squad, though, it is not exactly full of wide options. Yes, James Milner can do it, but he lacks pace, while winger Sinclair has probably forgotten what a football looks like.

Now, his attitude may at times have been questioned, but nobody can argue with the ability that Robben possesses. He played a key role towards the end of the season as Bayern Munich won the treble.

The cruel reality is that had Toni Kroos not suffered an injury that wiped out his season, the Dutchman wouldn't have featured so often. He also now has further competition in the form of £30m man Mario Gotze.

That doesn't take anything away from Robben's capabilities on the pitch - he just has a lot of quality to contend with at the Allianz Arena. Consequently, Bayern could be prepared to allow the 29-year-old to depart relatively cheaply. With financial fair play the buzz phrase in football at the moment, the less money spent the better.

He is a Pellegrini-type player and his arrival would not be a risk. He displayed time and again that he can be effective in England during a three-year stint with Chelsea.

Bayern forward Arjen Robben is mobbed by team mates after scoring the opening goal against Barcelona on May 1, 2013© AP Photos

Stefan Kiessling, Bayer Leverkusen

With all the stories linking Carlos Tevez with an Etihad Stadium exit, it would be a surprise to see the little Argentine turning out in a City shirt next term. It seems that he has run his course in Manchester and probably the Premier League.

Sergio Aguero recently signed a new contract, so he is going nowhere, and the reports that once insisted Edin Dzeko was on his way have died down dramatically. Even if the Bosnian stays, City would need at least one more frontman.

The Bundesliga currently contains the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Mario Gomez and Mario Mandzukic, but the leading goalscorer in the division was Kiessling with 25 to his name.

At 6'3", he also has the physical presence that may appeal to Pellegrini, particularly if the likes of Navas are instructed to send crosses into the penalty area.

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Manchester City's Carlos Tevez shows his frustration during the Manchester derby on December 9, 2012
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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