oncerns about Mark Hughes:
Man management – One thing we quickly learnt last year was Hughes didn’t have the samba style to win over our Brazilian contingent. A pre-season boot camp (which was noticably less rigorously enforced this year) is his preferred method for bonding. In fairness, he does inspire loyalty from some, notably Ireland and Bellamy, and respect from others. Bellamy in particular has always played his best football under his fellow Welshman.
Continue Reading →
With the arrival of Joleon Lescott, speculation has increased that Richard Dunne may be leaving the club, while Ben Haim is being linked with a season-long loan to Portsmouth.
The Daily Mail earlier claimed that Aston Villa have agreed a Ã‚Â£6m fee for Dunne, and this has since appeared in The Guardian. As of today Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott look set to be our first choice centre back pairing and it’s doubtful if Dunne will be happy with a place on the bench in a World Cup year. Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland are well placed in their qualification group and Dunne wouldn’t want to miss out.
Nedum Onuoha has recently inked a contract extension to confirm the management have faith in his abilities. With Vincent Kompany also a more than capable centre-half, Dunne may be considered expendable by Hughes. It’s hard on the loyal servant, but there are decent options available to him. One problem could be whether potential suitors would match the wages the Irishman is currently on. If they do, it could mean a fond farewell to the Joe Royle signing.
Surely it can’t be true, but if you read this morning’s newspaper headlines you’d be forgiven for thinking we were about to do deals for each of the left-sided central defenders.
To add to the confusion, the stories come from three of the more reliable City writers. Ian Ladyman has an EXCLUSIVE in the Mail that we’re set to sign Lescott:
Sportsmail believes the transfer will be completed in the next 36 hours.
After privately declaring the move all but dead over the weekend, it is understood
City were given encouragement on Monday afternoon and are now hopeful of having the player in their line-up to face Blackburn.
David Hytner in The Guardian follows Daniel Taylor in believing a deal for Upson is on the cards:
Manchester City will encounter little resistance from West Ham United if they follow up their interest in Matthew Upson with a bid of around Ã‚Â£15m.
Finally Ian Herbert, who recently followed City in South Africa, writes in The Independent:
Manchester City are ready to move to bring their former captain Sylvain Distin back to the club, as West Ham’s demands for Matthew Upson’s services are proving higher than the Premier League’s big spenders are willing to pay.
Just for good measure The Express has Joleon Lescott “considering handing in a written transfer request”.
If the Lescott deal really is back on, then that would clearly be Hughes’ preferred signing. However until we hear something from Everton to that effect then I’ll have my doubts.
Thirty year old Matthew Upson appears next in line, though Cook is only willing to pay Ã‚Â£10m and West Ham are looking for Ã‚Â£15m. Talk of City turning their attention to Distin could just be an attempt to lower West Ham’s asking price.
Personally I’d rather have Distin than Upson. He’s taller, quicker and better able to cover for an attacking full-back, which we have in Bridge. We might have to move quick for Distin as several other teams are also interested in the Frenchman.
There’s a lot of speculation that the signing of a new tall centre-half will mean the departure of Richard Dunne, which would certainly be ironic if we bring in Distin. For me our old central defensive ‘twin towers’ could be the best option for taking on the aerial assault at Blackburn. I’d hold 5′ 11″ Kolo Toure back for this one.