Manchester City's manager Mark Hughes has stated that it is not his intention to reduce the size of his squad come January.
Mark Hughes will not be looking to off-load fringe players from his Manchester City squad during the January transfer window, the Welshman revealed today.
Hughes wants to add to the quality already at his disposal rather than clear players out for the sake of it. He also has the UEFA Cup to consider: new faces are likely to ineligible for the competition and if Hughes wants to mount a serious challenge for trophy he will have to rely on those players that got City through the group phase.
"Everyone keeps saying that I am going to replace huge amounts of players but that is not the case," Hughes told The Manchester Evening News.
"I am just trying to add to the quality that I have here. We have good players."
Those words will doubtless comfort those players on the fringes at Eastlands, who must have felt that their City futures were threatened with all the big money transfer talk surrounding the club.
That transfer talk is clearly amusing Hughes, who has been linked in the press this week with 20-year-old Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero and West Ham United's Craig Bellamy.
"I think they are numbers 49 or 50," joked Hughes.
"I am not going to go public with who we might or might not be looking to buy but I will tell you that we will not be buying all the players with whom we have been linked.
"The ultimate aim is to have a squad that is flexible and balances and that can meet any challenge thrown at it."
Hughes is a realist though, and accepted that in order to get the necessary business in January done quickly he may well have to be looking at paying premium prices for players.
"Every transfer is different and each has to be conducted in a different way," he said.
"Of course, we would like to get business done as quickly as possible if you ask most managers they would say they would like transfers completed quickly and cleanly but some of them inevitably drag on to the last minute and the last hour.
"If it looks like one or two are going to be long and drawn out then maybe on occasion we can force the issue but it is all about getting the correct value for the club.
"Maybe some clubs and agents think they can add a premium because it is City buying and we would expect that but we have a value of players that will hold true and we will not pay significantly more than the market value.
"We are looking to strengthen the side and improve quality.
"The list of supposed targets just keeps growing and it is likely to get even bigger before January arrives."
Hughes refused to be drawn in on the number of players he is looking to sign, but rumors in Manchester suggest that it is at least four. Their identities would seem to be anyone's guess at this stage.
--Zack Wilson, Goal.com