Premier League: Micah Richards among stars set to leave Manchester City
Manchester City could let three homegrown players leave this summer despite the FFP restrictions they face in Europe.
By James Cooper
Last Updated: 19/05/14 12:01pm
City will see their Champions League squad trimmed to 21 names as one of the punishments handed out by European football's governing body, but it appears they will let Micah Richards, Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair depart the Etihad Stadium during the forthcoming transfer window.
Coupled with the departures of two other players who are out of contract this summer, Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott, it means the new Premier League champions will mount the defence of their title without five of their current English contingent.
UEFA's Champions League squad restriction includes a stipulation that between four and eight players named are 'homegrown', meaning they have to be English or have spent at least three years in an English academy.
City, whose summer transfer business will also be limited to £49m following the FFP breach, have outlined a number of potential targets but none of them are understood to be English after the club were quoted transfer fees which they believe, at this stage, are too excessive.
The sanctions will not affect the plans drawn up Manuel Pellegrini to strengthen his squad, and they look to spell the end of Micah Richards' 13 year association with the club.
Injuries and the form of Pablo Zabaleta have restricted Richards' first-team opportunities, with just 10 appearances this season, and City may well be prepared to accept a lower fee for the 25-year-old defender with any deal likely to include add-ons based on appearances.
One potential replacement for Richards is Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna - the 31-year-old is out of contract this summer and, as a free transfer, would allow City more space to manoeuvre when looking at transfer fees for other reinforcements.
The futures of midfield duo Rodwell and Sinclair are also uncertain with neither player likely to figure in Pellegrini's latest blueprint.
Rodwell, signed from Everton for £12m, has seen his opportunities hampered by a string of injuries and the club could well be prepared to let him leave on loan to give him first team opportunities.
Sinclair, who was signed by former Blues' boss Roberto Mancini, spent the past season on loan at West Brom, and City are understood to be considering the option of a further temporary deal or even a permanent exit for the player who cost them more than £6m in the summer of 2012.