City close on Chelsea target Johnson

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Manchester City will try to make up for their shattering Carling Cup semi-final disappointment by engaging in a little bit of retail therapy.

Within an hour of their 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, it emerged City had tabled a big-money offer for Middlesbrough winger Adam Johnson, who is out of contract in the summer.

There is even talk the highly-rated England Under-21 star might be allowed to remain at the Riverside until the end of the season, although that might depend on whether Robinho does eventually secure a return to Brazil.

The £32.5million South American asked to be left out of the squad for Wednesday night's game at Old Trafford for fear of scuppering any deal, but, while Robinho seems to know exactly where he is going, manager Roberto Mancini is not so sure.

"Robinho spoke with me on Wednesday," said the Italian. "It is possible that he will go to play for Santos or another team, so we preferred not to risk him.

"But that is the only reason he was not involved. If he is still here at the end of the transfer window, he can play for us."

At 22, Johnson would appear to be a far better fit for City than Robinho, who has never looked entirely at ease with the 'project' taking shape at Eastlands.

It does seem inevitable the transfer will be concluded before Monday's deadline, with Johnson apparently telling close friends he is bound for the Blues.

He will be joining a side who were denied a first Wembley final since 1981 by Wayne Rooney's injury-time winner, although Mancini remains optimistic for the future, particularly as Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor should both be pushing for starting berths against Portsmouth on Sunday.

"Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor are back with us now and Joleon Lescott is nearly fit," he said. "With those players I think it is possible for us to get into the top four."

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Manchester City
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Adam Johnson

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