Football: Kinkladze future at City put on hold

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The Independent Online
Francis Lee, the Manchester City chairman, moved swiftly yesterday to try to keep Georgi Kinkladze at Maine Road.

The Georgian midfielder seemed to be on the brink of following Alan Ball out of Manchester in the wake of the manager's resignation on Monday, but yesterday Lee told Kinkladze's Swiss-based agent, Phillipe Hubert, that talks on the player's future would have to wait until there is a new man in charge at Maine Road. Celtic are reportedly keen on buying Kinkladze and there have been enquiries from European clubs.

Meanwhile, City players are puzzled by Lee's suggestion that senior professionals wanted Kinkladze out of the side last season. One player said: "The only time anything was said was when Garry Flitcroft suggested we change the midfield to leave one man back to cover for Georgi's runs. Nobody was ever against Georgi and it's trash to suggest there was a campaign against him and blame it on former players."

Lee gave a guarded response to comments from George Graham, the former Arsenal manager, on Tuesday. "I know that George Graham has publicly said on radio that he would be interested in being the manager of Manchester City," Lee said. "But if he doesn't contact us, we presume he didn't mean what he said."

Another manager looking for a new job is Andy King, who was dismissed by Mansfield Town yesterday. The former Everton midfielder was suspended on Monday, and left the Third Division club after a meeting with the chairman, Keith Haslam, that lasted only 15 minutes. The reserve team manager, Steve Parkin, takes temporary charge at Field Mill.

Jimmy Thomson has resigned as manager of Raith Rovers after just six months in charge of the Scottish Premier Division club.

Leicester City have agreed a fee of pounds 800,000 for the former Everton and Oldham striker Ian Marshall. Stoke have taken a Portuguese defender, Hugo da Costa, on extended loan from Benfica, while Port Vale have signed Roberto Luconi, the top scorer for Ancona in Italy's Serie B last season, also on a long-term loan.

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