Ireland has struggled to find his way into the plans of City manager Roberto Mancini following the Italian's arrival at Eastlands midway through last season.
The 23-year-old is just 12 months into a lucrative five-year deal at City but is reportedly eyeing an exit after failing to reproduce the sparkling form he showed during the 2008/09 campaign.
Ireland could be used as a makeweight in City's bid to land Aston Villa and England star James Milner.
But Santa Cruz believes Ireland still has much to offer City, despite the expected influx of new players this summer.
"He is a very nice guy and a fantastic player also, so I think everybody at the club would be very disappointed to see him leaving. He is a great talent," said Santa Cruz.
"This season has been hard for him, not finding a starting place in the team, but it is always going to be hard when you are at a team that is always getting new players who start all the time.
"It is very hard for everyone."