Manchester: Edin Dzeko, a key figure in Manchester City`s 2-0 victory at Newcastle United, is on the verge of signing a new contract that will keep him at the club for the next five years.
The Bosnian international`s current deal has only 10 months to run and manager Manuel Pellegrini`s determination to keep the striker was fully justified by his performance as City beat Newcastle for the 11th time in succession.
"He finished last season playing very well and was one of the best players in this game," said Pellegrini.
"He worked hard and won a lot of aerial duels. It was a complete game from him.
"It`s not strange for me to see him play like that because he finished last season playing very well. He has grown. He`s a team player. I`m very happy for him. That`s why he is renewing his contract here -- he has a very important duty in our team."
Dzeko created the opening goal at St James` Park for David Silva and the second came in stoppage time from one of his rivals for a place in the City forward line, substitute Sergio Aguero.
"It is important that we have four top strikers because we have so many games in four competitions," said Dzeko.
The next game on City`s hectic schedule is at home to Liverpool.
Pellegrini said: "We are finished with Newcastle so now we will think of Liverpool and see what we can do against them. We know it is going to be a difficult season so now we will see if we can manage to win the second game.
"It is very important for us to have another week to get everyone fit. We need players like Sagna, Mangala, Lampard to come back. Another week of training will be very useful for us."
The list of players not involved in their first league game of the season illustrates the strength in depth in the City squad, who successfully negotiated a difficult game against a Newcastle side featuring five of their new signings.
"I`m very happy," said Pellegrini. "It is always important to start the season with a win, particularly when you are playing away at a difficult stadium."
City`s well-organised display sent out a clear message that they won`t relinquish the title without a fight.
"We only need to have the same attitude as we showed today and the same hunger for glory that we have started the season with to have a chance. I am sure this squad can fight for the title but we will see at the end of the season," said the City boss.
There was also much in the Newcastle performance to please their manager Alan Pardew, notably the work of France midfielder Remy Cabella in his first experience of the Premier League.
"The new signings did well and I thought Jack Colback and Remy Cabella were outstanding," said Pardew.
"Not everything that Remy tried came off, but when he has a hot day he is going to punish teams.
"I thought City edged the first half, but we deserved an equaliser in the second. I`m really buoyed by a lot of things that went on today. The crowd were great and we responded to that."
Pardew was on the touchline for most of the match, but there was no repeat of his clash with Pellegrini last season when he swore at the City manager.
"I do not have any problems with him. He apologised to me immediately for the mistake he made. I told him not to worry about. It was finished," said Pellegrini.