Manchester City will embark on a clear-out of players at the end of the season. Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry, Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri head a group of 11 whose futures are in doubt, with Roberto Mancini determined not to repeat last summer's mistakes in the transfer market.
The manager believes that the club's inability to recruit the players he identified towards the end of last season proved a major factor in the dismal Champions League campaign, which ended with City bottom of their qualifying group, and for a faltering title defence that has them trailing Manchester United by 12 points.
Along with Mancini, Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, the new chief executive and director of football, will decide who will leave. At the weekend Barry admitted the squad are aware that Soriano and Begiristain were going to scrutinise "the players they want to go with" in the future.
While Barry, Tevez, and Joleon Lescott all have a year remaining on their deals in the summer, Kolo Touré, Roque Santa Cruz and Wayne Bridge will all be out of contract then and are certain to depart. There are also doubts over Mancini's desire to persevere with Nasri, Dzeko, Maicon, and Scott Sinclair, due to uneven form, and John Guidetti, whose injury problems have made it difficult for him to force a way into the manager's plans.
Regarding his future and that of Tevez and Lescott, Barry said: "They are the sort of conversations the lads have now and again. We've got the rest of this season and then one more year, and there have been changes upstairs. Everyone is pretty relaxed because they will take time to have a look at things, the way they are going to go in the future, and the players are pretty comfortable with that too. So as individuals we need to work hard when we get the chance."
Last summer, Mancini identified Robin van Persie, Eden Hazard, Daniele De Rossi, Javi Martínez and Daniel Agger as his prime choices but City missed out on all of them. While they would have cost around £138m, Mancini had to settle for Jack Rodwell, Javi García, Matija Nastasic, Sinclair and Maicon who – Rodwell apart – were all signed on the final day of the August window for just £38m.
While all five of Mancini's first-choice targets would have been expected to play in his strongest XI, of the quintet who did join only Nastasic has become an automatic starter.
For this failure Mancini blamed Brian Marwood, Begiristain's predecessor. Last August the Italian said: "After four months, I don't know what to say. You need to ask Brian Marwood. I am not the sporting director. I can't say anything about players."
Mancini was asked directly if he was content with Marwood determining the club's overall policy. "I am not happy – but I don't know what to say," he said.
Ahead of making any fresh signings once the summer window opens, City will be conscious of the need to heed Uefa's financial fair play strictures though, having sold Mario Balotelli already in January, the club has recouped £20m plus taken his £170,000 weekly salary off the books.