Edin Dzeko happy with his and Manchester City's prospects
Fresh from signing a new four-year contract with Manchester City and taking over as captain of Bosnia, Edin Dzeko has every reason to smile when he considers his future.
But, hours ahead of Tuesday`s Euro 2016 qualifier against Cyprus, the 28-year-old striker spoke with some trepidation about Saturday`s Premier League trip to Arsenal and prospects for City to retain their crown with a third title in four seasons.
"It will be difficult, but I`m an optimist," he told City`s website (www.mcfc.co.uk). "As with every season, there are several teams that will battle for the title of champions in England.
"This season, Chelsea might be the most serious challenger, but we mustn`t ignore Liverpool, Tottenham (Hotspur), Arsenal or (Manchester) United, who certainly will be much stronger than last year.
"After all, everyone has gotten (sic) stronger and everyone wants to be first."
Dzeko scored five goals in City`s final four games last season to cement his status at the Etihad Stadium and steer the club to the championship.
"The past season was one of the best in my career," he said. "In the end, we reached the title of champions of England, the second in the past three seasons, and we succeeded in winning the Capital One (League) Cup.
"I am really happy how everything played out, both for the club and for myself."
City signed the powerful Dzeko in January 2011 from German club VfL Wolfsburg, where he scored freely as they won the 2009 Bundesliga title.
He progressed fitfully under then-manager Italian Roberto Mancini, often receiving criticism for his touch and consistency, but blossomed last season with the arrival of new boss Chilean Manuel Pellegrini.
"I am happy at City," he said, when asked about his new contract.
"The manager believes in me, which is certainly important, and I give my all on the pitch and, altogether, it means quite a lot to me because City is a club with great ambitions.
"I easily decided to stay put... In general, I had no dilemma around an extension."
In successive seasons, Dzeko has improved his league goals tally in England -- two in 2010-11, 14 in the next two and 16 last term.
Now, he is ambitious for more and hoping that, after his national service on Tuesday, he and City will enjoy success at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.