July 28th, 2010
Manchester City seem set to offload Roque Santa Cruz and Stephen Ireland
MANCHESTER CITY are planning to offload Craig Bellamy, Stephen Ireland and Roque Santa Cruz as part of a summer exodus.
Bellamy and Ireland are both being offered as bait in City’s bid to land Aston Villa midfielder James Milner.
And Santa Cruz could be on his way to Stoke after the Potters launched a club record £8m bid for the Paraguay striker.
City are desperate to offload players to meet new Premier League rules limiting each club to a squad of 25 this season.
But the bad news is that Villa are not interested in taking City’s cast-offs as the bulk of any settlement for Milner.
Villa boss Martin O’Neill values the England winger at around £30m and wants cash to reinvest in his own transfer targets.
The Midlands club are also struggling with the size of their wage bill and cannot afford to take on Bellamy’s bumper £90,000-a-week deal.
Milner has been unsettled by all the speculation and held clear-the-air talks with O’Neill at the club’s training ground on Monday.
And he is set to fly out with his team-mates to Portugal today for friendly matches against Benfica and Feyenoord in the Guadiana Cup tournament.
That is the clearest indication yet that Milner will remain a Villa player unless City make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Meanwhile, Stoke boss Tony Pulis has made contact with City about Santa Cruz and has been told that the 28-year-old will be allowed to leave.
Santa Cruz only arrived at Eastlands a year ago in an £18m move from Blackburn but scored just four goals last season.
Stoke have been battling to make a major striker signing all summer and Santa Cruz’s availability has shot him to the top of their wish list. Pulis said: “We need to bring a few in and we are looking to do that.
“We have been working diligently to get deals done, but it’s not gone for us yet.”
Pulis also remains keen on West Ham’s Carlton Cole and Hugo Rodallega at Wigan.
Santa Cruz has not featured in City’s tour of America as he is on holiday after helping Paraguay reach the World Cup quarter-finals.
Source: daily star
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