Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Tuesday January 2 2007
Transfer talk at City is currently dominated by talk of who may leave the club this month rather than who may come in.
The hot debate is whether Micah Richards is about to move to Chelsea for a fee of around £18 million. Personally I would hate to see Richards leave but I am also realistic enough to know that £18 million is a lot of money for a right back with limited experience. If monies received were to be put back into strengthening the squad it may make sense. If however the club see it as just another way of reducing the debt and announcing operating profits, as in the case of SWP, then forget it as it would do little other than weaken the squad.
The other two 'will they won't they stay' players are Sylvain Distin and Joey Barton.
In the case of Barton I honestly believe the Christmas results will encourage him to stay. The club is poised to move forwards rather than backwards now and Barton has only recently signed a new deal. He is aware that he is on the verge of the England squad on the basis of his performances for Manchester City and is intelligent enough to see what can happen to those ambitions when you chase fool's gold, again SWP is the example. He will also be aware that the only interest shown last year was from Middlesbrough, a club now fighting a relegation battle of their own.
The case of Distin is less clear cut. The player is out of contract in the summer and as a result the club are duty bound to accept a reasonable offer for the player. Distin may find few clubs willing to offer him the sort of money he is after however. Portsmouth were scared off in the summer and Middlesbrough would not be his first choice. Interestingly none of the big boys have come sniffing and as such I see his only way out being a return to Newcastle. I hope I'm wrong and he signs a new deal at City but we'll have to wait and see what transpires.
As to who is likely to come in? Well no one seems to know. The club quite clearly need to strengthen up front and also cover for left midfield wouldn't go amiss. Stuart Pearce is talking bargain basement however and insists if he is to get anyone he may have to shop abroard again.
It promises to be an interesting 30 days at MCFC. Keep checking in to see what is happening.
Date:Tuesday January 2 2007
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