Mark Hughes believes top sides are judged by the quality of their strike force and that is exactly why he wants Samuel Eto’o at Manchester City.
While speculation continues about the possible arrival of Carlos Tevez, who is now a free agent after the expiry of his two-year ‘lease’ arrangement with Manchester United, Eto’o remains at the top of Hughes’ summer wish-list.
City have not given up on their hopes of signing the 28-year-old from Barcelona, even though this week’s indication has been that Eto’o would remain at the Nou Camp.
Hughes insists the Cameroon star is not merely a marquee signing he is not actually interested in, claiming he could ignite City’s entire strike force.
“He is a world star and a European Cup winner, the type that scores you 23 goals a season,” said Hughes.
“With those types of player you know exactly what you will get – quality, a winner’s mentality and someone who will get people out of their seats.
“My feeling is that it is the right time for him to help us in our ambitions.
“There is an old adage in football that you stand or fall by your strikers.
“There are times in games when things aren’t going particularly well when you need somebody with the ability to win games on their own.
“All the top clubs have them. If we can add players who can do it to the ones we already have, it gives us a better chance.”
Hughes accepts there is a chance Eto’o will eventually opt to remain where he is, if only to stop Barcelona pocketing the entire £25million transfer fee for a player who would be allowed to leave for nothing in 12 months’ time.
Moves to lure Tevez to Eastlands can now be sped up, with some suggestion that a deal could be done as soon as Monday.
Hughes is adding nothing to such talk. However, he is prepared to concede high expectations of City, which were so wide of the mark last term, would be an accurate assessment of the feeling inside the club this year.
“People’s perceptions about us will be accurate this year,” he said.
“If we can get the players we are hoping for we will have more tools to do the job. We didn’t have that last year.
“But leading into the new season I fully expect us to be in better shape and be better prepared than we were last year when expectations were the same as they will be this time.
“Last year we couldn’t fulfill them. This year I anticipate we will.”