Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott has seen his Premier League stock dramatically fall this season. The England international once worth £24 million is reportedly available for a mere £4 million this summer. Roberto Mancini has openly admitted that he has been looking for other central defensive options, so is now the time to throw in the towel? Should he stick around and fight for his place or move to the North East?
Lescott is clearly a defender who has a lot to offer, with aspirations of playing in the 2014 World cup. If he is sitting on the fringes at Man City he will only be harming his chances international chances. The 30 year old need only look to the recent call up of Rio Ferdinand, that his England career could yet have longevity into the later years of his career. He may be involved for this round of matches due to injuries to other key personnel but he can’t expect to get lucky if he keeps warming the bench.
There is interest from Everton in Lescott but should he consider his options further north? If the defender is to reinvigorate his form you suspect he needs a fresh challenge. Newcastle and Sunderland both maintain an interest in the centre back. They could offer him a prime opportunity to find his way back into thoughts of Roy Hodgson more prominently when all options are fit.
Sunderland would offer Lescott the chance to work under the inspirational character of Martin O’Neill who has a proven track record of bringing the best out of players. There is clearly capability for cohesion in the Black Cats defence too, as they had the 2nd best defensive record up to December just behind Manchester City this season.
It may not have gone exactly according to plan for his former team mate Adam Johnson but you suspect he will improve. Lescott and Johnson could show what England are missing and could prove a real point that leaving Man City doesn’t spell the end for footballers, at the Stadium of Light.
There is certainly a sense of underachievement at Sunderland in terms of their league position considering their resources and talent within the squad. If they can maintain consistency in attack they have the capability to be next season’s surprise package. If Lescott can ensure that the North East outfit have a strong backbone then he could play an integral part in this. He would instantly start and be provided with responsibility to lift a club clearly ready to climb up the table fresh impetus to succeed.
Newcastle could also though provide an outlet to climb the greasy pole back to the top of the English game. Their European campaign has somewhat masked their underwhelming performance in the Premier League and mid-table obscurity will not be tolerated next season.
It is no secret that Fabricio Coloccini is set to leave the Magpies in the summer for his native Argentina and they will need defensive cover and experience. Joleon Lescott could be his ready-made replacement.
The French acquisitions in January have added a new resolve and strength to Newcastle and it makes them currently an alluring prospect for those who want to play the best football they can outside the top four.
In 2011/2012 they narrowly missed out on the Champions League positions and if they can ensure they have options across their squad then the 2013/14 season could be a very bright one indeed.
Lescott would be walking into a Newcastle squad with a determined mentality. If he were to form a successful partnership with Steven Taylor it could do both players the world of good for their international futures.
Alan Pardew has built on instilling a great team spirit that welcomes in any new player that his predecessor Chris Hughton made the foundational of his managerial reign at St James’s Park.
The ambition in terms of what is expected in North East football has changed in recent times and the supporters are tired of being stung by former “big” club players looking to coast their final days with a pay packet.
Lescott is in a position where he can earn his place back in terms of stature for an England place if he puts in the graft and hard work. Newcastle United fans particularly appreciate those that put blood sweat and tears in for the cause, James Perch is an epitomy of that. If he thinks he can rely on his reputation and provide a Sol Campbell like spell on Tyneside he is severely mistaken.
Joleon Lescott could though be welcomed in at either of the North East rivals and have a path to success, it is now up to him whether he plays it safe and sticks it out at the Etihad or twists and moves on this summer.
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