Roberto Mancini has outlined his transfer strategy for this summer, arguing Manchester City must start scouting now if they want to land their targets at the end of the season.
The defending Premier League champions did not spend a penny during the January transfer window, and Mancini admitted the club "didn't work well last year" in the transfer market.
Mancini's club trail the Premier League leaders Manchester United by nine points, and the Italian boss is keen to get his recruitment plans for the summer lined up to prevent a repeat of last season's failures.
City missed out on Robin Van Persie, who later joined Manchester United in a £24m deal, and the Dutchman currently leads the goalscoring charts with 18 goals in the league so far.
But despite the failure to land Van Persie, and the decision to let Italy international Mario Balotelli leave the club, Mancini insists City can sign their top targets at the end of the season - if they start planning now.
"Last year we didn't work well," Mancini is quoted as saying on Goal.com. "It's important we start now. Now's the time we can close in on some good players for the summer.
"I have meetings with Txiki [Begiristain, director of football] every week and we talk about the summer.
"It will be easier to get players in the summer if we work hard, well and quickly now. You can't start looking at players in May because all the good ones are gone and it becomes impossible."
The Italian laid part of the blame for City's quiet winter recruitment on the current state of the January transfer window - arguing the month-long shopping binge hinders rather than helps.
"It's difficult in January to find really good players for us," Mancini added. "Clubs don't want to sell now, but maybe they will in the summer. We need to work now, so that it is not like last year."