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With the January transfer window quickly approaching, we take a look at the business that may be conducted by some of the top clubs in Europe. Here's a look at Manchester City..

By Brendon Netto

This Season's Stats
                  Premier League: 2nd
Champions League: Group Stage 4th (eliminated)
FA Cup: Third round
Capital One Cup: Third round (eliminated)
Games: 25
Won: 11
Lost: 5
Drawn: 9
Win %: 44.00%
GF: 45
GA: 28
GF ratio: 1.80
GA ratio: 1.12

Their Season So Far

Manchester City have had a poor season so far by their standards. Even though they are second in the Premier League, losing the Manchester derby at home would have been major blow for them as it opened up a six-point lead for league leaders Manchester United.

However, the most disappointing aspect of their season has been their elimination from the Champions League after finishing bottom of their group without recording a win. Admittedly, their group was an incredibly difficult one but with the players Roberto Mancini has at his disposal, they should be competing with the best.

Their failure in Europe is most disappointing

The Citizens have faced problems at both ends of the pitch. Their strike-force hasn't been at its best but the signs they have shown off late are encouraging. Their defence has been a bit wobbly by their standards all season and Mancini's tactical alterations only served to disrupt his back-line.

City must be given credit for losing only one game in the league this season and rescuing so many points in the dying moments of games. However, their elimination in their first game of the Capital One Cup was another disappointment as their fourth place finish in the Champions League group phase which meant that they didn't qualify for the Europa League as well. Mancini will probably look on the bright side since his squad can focus on winning the Premier League and FA Cup.

What They Need

The squad is packed with quality players all over the pitch but there are a couple of areas in which they could improve. Their defence has been shaky compared to their exceptional form last season. Joleon Lescott has been left out of the team more often than not season as Mancini has chosen to use his summer signing, Matija Nastasic. The 19 year old has held his own but has shown moments of weakness as well.

In need of cover in defence

Mancini still seems keen on recruiting another strong midfielder. Yaya Toure is indispensable for the Blues but he will be away on international duty during January and February. He is the driving force for City and they do over-rely on him at times. They may look to bring in someone who can do a similar job in his absence or even play alongside him in the first team, allowing him to make more forward runs.

Despite his potent strike-force, Mancini will still be looking across town to the one at Old Trafford with envy. Mario Balotelli's contribution this season has been little to none. The Italian manager may look to bring in a more reliable striker to boost his options.

Prime Targets

Daniele De Rossi:

A midfield general to drive them forward

Mancini has made no secret of his admiration for Daniele De Rossi and City reportedly had a bid rejected in the summer. The Italy international would be a massive edition to his side. He is the kind of midfield general that City would do well with, especially if they want to go much further in the Champions League next season.

Although Mancini has recently claimed that he no longer has an interest in the 29 year old, the midfielder remains ideally suited to meet City's needs.

Fernando Llorente:

A reliable striker

Fernando Llorente is one of the most sought after strikers for his performance at Athletico Bilbao. The Spaniard was expected to follow Javi Martinez out the door during the summer but wasn't able to find a suitor willing to match his transfer fee.

The fact that the 27 year old's contract is due to run out at the end of the seaon has seen his market value drop significantly and he could be signed on the cheap in January. However, the striker has spoken of his desire to play out this season with the Spanish side.

Mamadou Sakho:

Sakho to partner Kompany?

Mamadou Sakho is a quality young centre-back from Paris Saint-Germain. A product of their youth academy, Sakho made his debut as a 17 year old and went on to establish himself in the first team. He already has 158 matches to his name but the arrival of Thiago Silva this season has limited him to just one appearance this time around.

Mancini reportedly sees him as the ideal candidate to partner Vincent Kompany in defence. The 22 year old is yet to reach his full potential but he may be afforded that chance at City.

Who Could Leave

Mancini has slowly but surely been losing his patience with Mario Balotelli and is reportedly keen to offload him in January. The Italian has a few suitors from the Serie A with AC Milan and Juventus among those showing an interest.

VIDEO: Should City sell Balotelli

Joleon Lescott has been left out of the team in favour of Nastasic on a regular basis this season and the England international is reportedly keen to leave the club in search of more game time. There are rumours going around that a return to former club Everton may be on the cards for the England international.

Who do you think Manchester City should sign? Leave your comments below or discuss with the writer on Twitter @BrendonNetto.

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