Manchester City are set for another extensive recruitment program this summer and some reports are suggesting that Roberto Mancini will have anything up to £150 million for transfer at his disposal, with James Milner and Fernando Torres being his main targets.
On the other side of the coin out of favour players such as Stephen Ireland, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Nedum Onuoha are allegedly pining for the exit door but may be held onto so that the club can adhere to the Premier League’s new ‘home-grown’ rule. Should home-grown players be wary of their club’s intentions, especially if they are only retained because of the new rules?
Ordinarily City would not be worried by losing all three of them in this summer’s transfer window. However, the new rules dictate that they must name eight home-grown footballers in their 25-man squad for the 2010-11 Premier League season. A home-grown player is defined as someone who has been registered with any club in England or Wales, continuous or not, for three entire seasons prior to his 21st birthday. The rules are also irrespective of the player’s nationality, so players like Cesc Fabregas count.
The Guardian has reported that Mancini is willing to placate some of his unsettled stars in order to guarantee that his side meet the Premier League’s ruling, is there potential for a problem here, surely these players can’t be appeased so easily?
23-year-old midfielder Ireland has been linked with a move away from Eastlands ever since it was revealed that he spoke to Garry Cook, City’s chief executive and Brian Marwood, the football administrator, about his frustrations and that he may choose to move on.
After an impressive campaign in the 2008-09 season in which he made 35 league appearances and scoring nine goals Ireland even spoke publicly about his annoyance of not playing regularly during this last term.
Ireland said: “There is a question mark over me for next year,” he added: “It’s been a difficult year because I care so much about my job. A lot of frustration bottled up because I have not played as much as I would have liked.”
Mancini retorted by saying the player has to “change his head,” which further fuelled talks of exits and it still seems likely as there are many clubs interested in the former Republic of Ireland international.
England Under-21 international Onuoha has also spoken publicly about his lack of first team opportunities under the flamboyant scarf-wearing Italian. The young defender only made five starts in the Premier League this season and felt he was on the verge of breaking into the first team under former manager Mark Hughes, only to go back to square one under the new boss’ regime. Onuoha said: “the new manager came in and I don’t think he [Mancini] liked me.”
Then there is Wright-Phillips, who also looks set for a departure following contractual disputes (he is allegedly not happy with the £70k-a-week on the table) which has angered his father Ian Wright, former Arsenal striker, who has accused the club of “mugging him off” and treating him as though he was a youth team player.
Perhaps all three of those players could go and it wouldn’t really effect City’s capacity to deal with the new Premier League squad quota (especially if they did sign Milner), but when you consider the fact that Micah Richards, Craig Bellamy and Vladimir Weiss’ futures are all uncertain and may leave the club then City could find things a little more difficult.
Mancini may think he can appease players into staying, but I doubt the likes of Ireland, Wright-Phillips and Onuoha can be humored so easily and wouldn’t warm the benches of Eastlands just so the club could meet what is asked of it. They are footballers, they want to play and will leave if they won’t get opportunities a Manchester City.
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