Being 'Bosman Aware` is one of Stuart Pearce`s watch words. With the lack of finance whirling around Manchester City over the last few years, Pearce has had to search around the world for the best out of contract players he can find. However getting your own house in order is the best way to begin the summer transfer season, so let`s have a look at those players whose contracts here expire at the end of June.
Michael Ball - signed in the January transfer window from PSV for a fee of 250k which will rise to half a million pounds should he earn a new contract here. His arrival has improved City`s left back position tenfold. He`s the best left full back we have had since Terry Phelan. Good passer, good crosser, knows his position inside out, and puts his foot in at the right times. His pace isn`t as rapid as it was before his knee injuries but his positional sense more than makes up for it. A resounding success who Pearce has identified as a key squad member and he will open contract talks with Ball shortly. A 2 year extension should keep player, manager and fans happy.
Stephen Jordan - a product of our successful youth academy, it took Jordan until the age of 23 to earn a regular spot in the squad. This season, he has been very poor when called upon and was jettisoned from the squad for good after the Blackburn home defeat, in which his performance was the worst I have seen from a City player since Jason Van Blerk was our left back. The fact that he hasn`t been near the first team since January tells its own story. An interesting side note here, Jordan was offered a 500k a year contract before Christmas which he chose not to sign as he felt he could get a better deal if he played hard ball. Said offer has since been withdrawn and no extension is planned for him. As a player, he isn`t good enough to play at the Premiership standard and I predict he will be playing non league football by the age of 30.
Emile Mpenza - Signed as a free agent in February after a spell playing for Al Rayyan in Qatar, Mpenza has been in great form for City over recent weeks. 2 goals and some fantastic lone front man performances have endeared him to the City faithfull`s hearts and he is already a crowd favorite. Big, quick, and powerful center forward is perfectly suited to the English game. Pearce will be holding talks with his representatives this week in a bid to keep him here. The club has the option of a 3 year extension to his contract, which they will no doubt take up.
Djamel Abdoun - signed on loan for Adjacco in France during the January transfer window. Little has been seen from Abdoun at first team level, apart from an exciting little cameo against Southampton in the FA Cup. In the reserves, he has impressed on a regular basis with his skill, quick feet and distribution. It would be a surprise if he is not signed permanently during the summer. He looks a player with considerable talent.
Nicky Weaver - the clubs longest serving player has had somewhat of a renaissance this season. Weavers form between the sticks has been as good as ever now his injury problems are well and truly behind him. He was unlucky to be taken out of the side, but you can`t keep a goalie the quality of Andreas Isaksson on the sidelines forever. Weaver is probably one of the most able deputies in the Premiership and we are lucky to have 2 keepers of their quality. Talks have been progressing over a new contract for Nicky, with the 2 sides close to a deal. It`s hard to imagine him signing anything more than a 1 year extension after losing his place in the side but I`m very hopeful he will stay and repay the faith the club has shown in him after all the injury problems he has gone through.
Sylvain Distin - signed from PSG for £4 million in the summer of 2002. Distin has been a mainstay of the City side for the past 5 years. He is a top quality center back, a fans favorite and good man to have around the place. He is probably playing at a club below where his talent should be performing. How he has been overlooked for France for so long baffles me when players like Boumsong and Silvestre have been regulars. Keeping Distin is top priority and the club are working hard on the matter. A 2 year deal has been agreed along with all money matters. Distin is keeping his options open however and rightly so. This will be his last big contract and the football side of things must be right. But with the clubs recent form, along with 2 recent quality additions in Ball and Mpenza, the emergence of more young talent in Sturridge and Johnson, and a possible take over in the summer, hopefully Distin will sign an extension here. His departure would be a huge blow to the club.
DaMarcus Beasley - signed on loan from PSV for a season in the summer of 2006. It`s safe to say that Beasley has never really been given a proper chance by Pearce, which is baffling considering he is the only left sided midfielder we have at the club. He`s a talented player but looks lightweight in the Premier League minefield. Should have been given a run of 10 games in the side before Christmas as it may be too late now to make a proper judgment on him. Little is known of Beasley`s potential future here. There`s the possibility of another loan deal, but if PSV only wish to transfer him permanently, City are not willing to pay a great deal for him. Unlikely he will be here come August, but his talent is one we should have tapped into a lot more this season.
Hatem Trabelsi - signed of a Bosman free transfer from Ajax in the summer of 2006. Trabelsi started this season brilliantly with some excellent displays before Christmas. Sadly though, injury problems and a knee which is on his last legs are having a debilitating effect on his performances. Rumored to be on around £40,000 a week salary when he does play, his departure from the team in recent weeks may have sealed his fate. His knee is close to falling to pieces and his half hearted efforts in training and matches haven`t helped his cause. A quality player in his time, but injury has robbed him of his prime. It would be a surprise to see him here next season, a move to Qatar or similar looks on the cards.
Trevor Sinclair - signed from West Ham United for £2.5 million in 2003. Sinclair has never reached the heights of his earlier career at City. Knee injuries have robbed us of seeing the best of him. This season he has been poor. His mobility has gone completely now and he is struggling. A great man to have around the place and has City in his blood, but he just isn`t up to Premiership standard anymore. There`s been no news on Sinclair being given a new contract, and I don`t expect to hear of any in the next few months either.
Nathan D`Laryea - a product of the youth academy. Nathan was given his release letter earlier on this week which is a shame as he has performed well this season as reserve team captain. He isn`t really close to Premiership standard however which makes his release understandable. Hopefully he will carve himself out a living in the lower levels of English football.
Marc Laird - another product of the youth academy, Laird looks likely to move on in the summer. At 21, he really needs to be playing first team football and he isn`t really good enough to get it here. Gretna in his native Scotland is a possible destination for the midfielder.