Bellamy not yet training with Cardiff

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Reports suggesting Craig Bellamy has been granted permission to train with Cardiff are premature at best, Press Association Sport understands.

Speculation has mounted this morning that the Manchester City striker is edging closer to a switch to his hometown club, with Roberto Mancini giving the all clear for him to link up with the npower Championship outfit at their Vale of Glamorgan training ground.

But that is not believed to be the case, with the Bluebirds squad not even taking part in training today, while there have been no new developments since Cardiff issued a statement last night.

A spokesman for the south Wales club yesterday evening said: "With the number and the names of the clubs being mentioned in connection to Craig it is flattering that we are an option, but at this stage it is pure speculation.

"Being connected to a player of this calibre shows how far we have come, to be even considered in a deal like this.

"We would love it to happen of course, but we are by no means alone in this."

Tottenham are also believed to be interested in his services although whether Manchester City would sell to a rival for Champions League football remains highly unlikely.

Celtic, Fulham and indeed Cardiff, among other interested parties, remain more viable alternatives for Bellamy, who has been deemed surplus to requirements at Eastlands.

Some bookmakers yesterday stopped taking bets on Bellamy linking up with the club he has supported since he was a boy.

But it appears a switch back to south Wales may not yet, at least, be such a forgone conclusion.

One of the main sticking points regarding any potential move could be Bellamy's wages, with cash-strapped Cardiff far from able to meet the current amount the striker is paid at Eastlands.

But the Wales captain's desire to play for Cardiff cannot be questioned.

At a press conference in the Welsh capital prior to last week's friendly against Luxembourg, Bellamy said: "I have always wanted to play for Cardiff. I've never been shy in saying that.

"My wife and kids live here, I've missed them now for the last five or six years, so that would have more of a pull to me than most.

"I will have to wait and see and see what options are possible but I certainly wouldn't rule it out."