Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has played down renewed speculation he could try to sign Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi in the January transfer window.
De Rossi has been a long-term target for City and Mancini has previously admitted he would be keen to sign the Italy international if he left Roma.
The 28-year-old's contract expires at the end of the season and talks regarding an extension at Stadio Olimpico have reached an impasse.
However, despite the prospect of losing Yaya Toure to the African Cup of Nations next month, Mancini doubts whether De Rossi can be prised away from the Italian capital.
"I don't think so," he said. "De Rossi was born in Rome and it's unlikely that he'll leave the city.
"There are players that could be good for us. But every time we want to buy a player their clubs ask for lots of money."
Meanwhile, Mancini admits his priority during January will be to offload players before he looks at ways of strengthening his options.
Mancini wants to sell Carlos Tevez, who is a loan target for AC Milan, while he is also prepared to let Wayne Bridge and Nedum Onuoha leave the Etihad Stadium permanently.
"We need to sell two or three players and then we'll see," added Mancini.
"Until now we have been lucky because we haven't had any big injuries.
"I hope it can be like that in January but if not, we may have time to buy someone. It's not easy though. I asked the owner for [Lionel] Messi but it's not possible!"