Mancini hints at Jo future
Brazilian striker could stay at City after all
By Ben Collins. Last Updated: 25/08/10 1:48pm
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has told striker Jo he could still have a future at the club after all.
City loaned the Brazilian to Everton soon after signing him for £18million from CSKA Moscow in the summer of 2008.
Jo returned to Goodison last season but his spell was cut short in January after he went back to Brazil without permission and he was immediately shipped out to Turkey.
The 23-year-old looked set to be sold with City splashing the cash again this summer but since returning to Eastlands he has featured throughout City's pre-season friendlies and come off the bench in two of their first three games this term.
With Robinho and Roque Santa Cruz now more likely to depart, only Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor are ahead of Jo in the pecking order and Mancini admits he is a fan of the three-cap Brazil international.
"I believe Jo is a good striker," he said.
"I remember him when he played for CSKA Moscow and I was in charge of Inter Milan. He is a good player."
Robinho's departure is not certain - Mancini has left the door open for him to stay and fight for his place - but there are several offers on the table for the Brazil star to move on before the transfer window shuts.
A British record signing from Real Madrid in the summer of 2008, the 26-year-old has turned down the chance to move to Turkey with Fenerbahce.
Although Robinho returned to Brazil last season on loan at his first club Santos, he has made it clear he wishes to continue his career in Italy or Spain.
"Robinho has two or three options," Mancini confirmed. "When he chooses we will then know where he wants to go.
"I have spoken with Robinho and he can stay if he works well and trains well.
I have a good relationship with him. But I think he wants to play in Italy or Spain."
Lazio have also confirmed their interest in signing Roque Santa Cruz, who made just six Premier League starts in his debut season at City and, like Robinho, finds himself down the pecking order.
The Paraguayan striker could move initially on loan, with a view to a permanent switch.
"Roque is a fantastic guy and a fantastic player," Mancini added.
"It is possible he will leave for Lazio or another team."