Allardyce angered by City's match-day offer for Stelios

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The Independent Football

Manchester City made a formal offer for Stelios Giannakopoulos yesterday when they tried to tempt Bolton Wanderers to part with the Euro 2004 winner in exchange for £1 million.

The offer came as Bolton Wanderers' manager, Sam Allardyce, was preparing to submit a teamsheet for the match at Aston Villa listing Stelios on the substitutes' bench, and the timing of City's move left Allardyce particularly upset.

"A disappointing situation has developed with Manchester City having decided to go public with their bid for Stelios," he said after Bolton drew the match 2-2. "Why did they do that on the opening day of the new season? Clearly it was done that way just to upset my player. I can't think of any other reason they've done it and that is very sad.

"They could have kept it in-house or, if it had to come out, why not do it tomorrow? Making it public today is very disappointing for me but it is something we will address next week. We will speak with Manchester City next week and Stelios and see where we go from there.

"What they did was part of the reason he did not play at Aston Villa but I also took into the account he didn't finish playing international football until July. We have made a good offer to him but he did not accept that offer."

City's manager, Stuart Pearce, said: "I spoke to Sam Allardyce on Friday and told him what we were going to do. We've followed that up by faxing an offer which matches our valuation of the player. I rang the manager and made him a verbal offer which has now been formalised.

"Sam said he did not want to sell Stelios but hopefully they will have a rethink and we will be able to get him out of the club."

With any luck, any transfer deal will not drag on as long as Chelsea's attempt to sign Michael Essien from Lyon, who are sticking to their valuation of £30m.

Lyon's president, Jean-Michel Aulas, told the French sports newspaper L'Equipe: "We'll take a decision on Sunday night, after the Marseilles game." Essien, who has said he wants to join Chelsea, will sit out the match.

Another player who is keen to move on is the Arsenal striker David Bentley, who, according to his agent, would contemplate a move to Wolves if the Championship club made an approach.

The 20-year-old is out of favour at Highbury and his representative, Rob Segal, said Bentley was keen to move after giving up on making the grade under Arsène Wenger.

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