Chelsea must bid over £20m to buy Wright-Phillips

Despite private confidence at Stamford Bridge that Wright-Phillips' arrival is imminent, officials at City have indicated that the two clubs are still no closer to concluding a deal that would be contingent on Chelsea meeting an asking price of around £25m. City were informally made aware of Chelsea's interest in the 23-year-old around two weeks ago but have heard little else since that time.

There has been no hint from the player himself that he wants to leave City this summer and the club are adamant that Chelsea's first tentative enquiry - around £18m - will have to be dramatically improved to succeed. For a deal to be struck this week, a bid would have to be accepted before Wright-Phillips and City leave for Thailand on Sunday where they will stay for a week for games against Bolton and Everton.

Although the initial discussions between the two clubsmade it clear to Chelsea that their first offer would have to be, at the very least, more than £20m, there has only been the briefest of contact since then and no new offer. With Wright-Phillips just one year into a new four-year deal there is no suggestion that the player will press City to leave this summer.

It is the strong relationship between City and Wright-Phillips that gives the club cause for confidence. The player is the most popular squad member among staff and officials and his commitment to the club's community work, as well as his ambivalent attitude towards leaving, has given City optimism that he would not force them to sell at an unsatisfactory price.

Wright-Phillips is aware that if City were offered a price around £25m, payable immediately rather than over the course of his contract, then it would be difficult for the club to reject it. However, they are not in a position where they have to sell. Though their debts of around £62m are often presented in apocalyptic fashion, the core £44m deficit is structured in a manageable system of repayments.

City have already drawn up two plans for their summer transfer activities, contingent on whether Wright-Phillips stays or leaves. Club officials have rejected the notion that Chelsea are giving them time to put together a package of new signings to appease supporters in the event of Wright-Phillips being sold.

Chelsea were expecting Hernan Crespo to return to training yesterday after recalling the Argentinian from his year's loan spell at Milan. The club are also optimistic about signing Lyon's Michael Essien and will present their £8m Athletic Bilbao signing Asier Del Horno to the media today.

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