Could Stephen Ireland be the bargain of the summer?

Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland has been marginalised at Eastlands by Roberto Mancini, who hasn’t given the Irishman many opportunities since his arrival at the club. Ireland is reportedly fed up an wishes to leave the club, could he be the bargain of the summer considering his talents?

The 23-year-old lost his way in the Citizens’ side since the arrival of the former Inter Milan boss after enjoying a great season under Mark Hughes at Eastlands the season before and was voted City’s player of the season 2008/09 for his efforts. The Welshman had so much faith in Ireland that he even allowed Elano to leave the club. But since the Italian arrived he has only made 11 appearances for the Manchester outfit.

Since then most of the talk about the player has been about him possibly moving on despite having four years left on a £60,000-a-week deal. It is also reported that he could be used as a possible makeweight in a deal for Aston Villa’s James Milner. Mancini also revealed that he thought the midfielder needed to “change his head” if he wishes to resurrect his career at Manchester City, but the comments probably just frustrated Ireland further as his manager chose to criticise him so publicly and in such an unprofessional manner.

Mancini has claimed that he will not allow the player to leave the club until City have concluded their inbound transfers this summer.

Ireland has seemed a shadow of the player who did so well in the 2008/09 season when he scored over a dozen goals from midfield and played 50 times under Hughes that season, since then perhaps he has struggled under Mancini’s new tactics and approach.

I believe that Ireland is a top quality player and some of his fellow team mates like Nedum Onuoha regards him as one of the best players at the club. If Mancini could have got the best out of the player last season then they may have got that fourth place that they craved as he should be the club’s answer to Frank Lampard, Cesc Fabregas or Steven Gerrard…he isn’t of the same quality yet, but he has plenty of potential.

However, he admittedly has an attitude problem after faking the deaths of grandmothers to escape international duty, so he does need to grow up, but he also needs a manager who has faith in him in order to thrive.

There are many clubs he could do a job for and with all due respect to Sunderland (who have been linked with him) Ireland could play for a top club. I think someone like Tottenham should take a punt on him and get rid of Jermaine Jenas, who is a perennial disappointment for many of the Tottenham fans.

Another side who could do with Ireland is Spurs’ north London rivals Arsenal, who may still lose Fabregas to Barcelona and it is not certain whether or not they have signed Joe Cole on a free yet.

I’m sure that a player like Ireland has divided the opinions of many fans, but what are your opinions on the former Republic of Ireland international?

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