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Ireland eyes exit but City to assess options

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25 May 2010 13:52:24

| Submit Comments| Comments (119)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapEXIT SIGN: Stephen IrelandStephen Ireland's Manchester City future hinges on the Blues' success in the transfer market. If Roberto Mancini can secure a new attacking midfielder, the 23-year-old Irish ace will be granted his wish, after telling the club last week that he wants to leave. Ireland has not handed in a formal transfer request, and club officials will sit down with him in the near future to thrash out his grievances and discuss a possible move. But City will stick to the same policy this summer as they did last year, with none of the first-team squad allowed to leave until replacements are in place. City have been showing strong interest in Steven Gerrard, James Milner and German international Mesut Ozil, with the only bid being a £20m offer for Milner. The Aston Villa midfielder remains a prime target, and Ireland and Nedum Onuoha could both be used as makeweights. Villa are expected to talk to Milner in the near future, and Liverpool are understood to have also joined the race for his signature. Ireland feels his future lies away from City after making just 16 league starts last season, 10 of them under Mark Hughes. With an attacking midfielder high on Mancini's priority list, Ireland could end up being surplus to requirements. That is quite a come-down for a player who ended the 2008-09 season as the fans' player of the year, and became the first City player to be named as Greater Manchester's player of the year. Meanwhile, defender Richard Dunne would welcome Ireland to Aston Villa if his time at City comes to an end this summer. Speaking as he launched the Football Association of Ireland's Goal to Work programme in Kilinarden, Dunne said: "He had a bit of a stop and start season last year after the previous season, when he was unbelievable. "I think Stephen would say himself that he wants to get more games and play more regularly, and if that's not at Manchester City, he would be more than welcome at Villa. "Everyone in the Premier League knows on his day how good he can be, and he would be a great addition to any side." Should City try and hold on to Ireland? Have your say.| Submit Comments| Comments (119)| Printable VersionAdd A CommentEnter your comments:Type your comment here...


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