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Ancelotti vs. Mancini again in transfer window

Ancelotti vs. Mancini again in transfer window

Old foes in Serie A, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini will go head-to-head again in the Premier League when the transfer window opens Friday as potentially the two biggest spenders in an unpredictable market.
With Chelsea's transfer ban temporarily lifted, Ancelotti can use the spending power of Roman Abramovich. While Mancini will look to billionaire Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour to top anything the Russian can do.
Less than two months ago, Chelsea was banned from any transfer activity in the January transfer window and beyond after FIFA ruled that it induced French teenager Gael Kakuta to break his contract with Lens. Chelsea appealed and the club will be allowed to buy and sell players in January pending the hearing.
That means Ancelotti, who took over before the start of this season, has the chance to make his own moves in the transfer market to add to an already powerful and experienced squad.
"It's not true that the club said we don't want to buy a new player," the Chelsea manager said, but suggesting there would be few major changes to the squad.
"Together, we took this decision to maintain this squad because we think this squad is a good squad, is able to play the games we have in January, and we have a possibility to give an opportunity _ a great opportunity _ to the young players if it's necessary."
Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, is reported to have spent more than 700 million pounds ($1.127 billion; (EURO)789 million) on the club. With Manchester United and Arsenal closing in at the top of the Premier League, he may have to get the checkbook out again, especially with Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Salomon Kalou and Jon Obi Mikel missing in January because of the African Cup of Nations.
Replacing the fired Mark Hughes at Man City, Mancini has already been linked with defenders Ivan Cordoba and Maicon, who play for his former club, Inter Milan.
With City striving to break into the top four in the Premier League, Mancini has the option of sticking with a squad that is currently sixth. But there is also the possibility of a clear-out at Eastlands with Mancini, who has little experience of English football, opting to add some players he knows.
There has been speculation for months that Brazil striker Robinho might be headed back to Spain, and some City fans are unhappy with the erratic form of forward Emmanuel Adebayor.
Both City and Chelsea have also been linked with Sergio Aguero, the 21-year-old Argentina striker from Atletico Madrid. But the Spanish club has put a huge valuation on him.
The same applies to Valencia's David Villa and Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich, who have been the focus of transfer speculation for months. Real Madrid spent huge sums on Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso at the start of the season.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said Thursday he doesn't plan to spend big in the transfer window despite a defensive injury crisis that threatened to throw his team's title chances off track.
"Inevitably, people look to this month's transfer window as a solution to our injury worries, but it is not the answer," Ferguson said. "If someone could give me the name of a really good centerhalf who would accept a three-month contract then I would jump at the chance. But where do you find a player like that?
"A decent player would be looking for a three-year contract and I don't need that kind of addition."
One former Man United player who could be on the move is Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, now with Real Madrid.
Fit again but edged out of the team after the arrival of Ronaldo, Benzema and Kaka, Van Nistelrooy appears to have little chance of making an impact at the club and, after a long injury layoff, needs a move to get his sharpness back.
Desperate to get more action and guarantee a spot in Argentina's World Cup squad, Madrid midfielder Gago has been linked with Juventus, Everton and even Boca Juniors.
Real Madrid needs to bolster its defense following a cruciate ligament injury to Pepe. Although Christoph Metzelder appears to be the ideal replacement, the German has been overlooked by coach Manuel Pellegrini and appears on the way out.
Other players who could be on the move after failing to make a major impact are Tottenham's Russian striker, Roman Pavlyuchenko, and midfielder David Bentley and Liverpool teammates Ryan Babel and Andriy Voronin.
Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho could be busy in the transfer window.
He is close to completing a deal for Lazio striker Goran Pandev to provide cover for Samuel Eto'o, who will be away for the African Cup. Linked with a move for AS Roma attacking midfielder Julio Baptista, Mourinho is likely to listen to offers for wingers Mancini and Ricardo Quaresma.
Among deals already completed, David Beckham has joined AC Milan on his second loan deal from the Los Angeles Galaxy and AS Roma agreed to sign Italian striker Luca Toni on a six-month loan from Bayern Munich.
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Associated Press writers Guy Hedgecoe in Madrid and Jeremy Inson in Milan contributed to this story.