City aim to sell Elano in January clear-out

Mark Hughes will make a flying visit to Abu Dhabi today to tell Manchester City's owner, Sheikh Mansour al-Nahyan, that he is planning a mass clear-out of players, which may see the Brazilian Elano leaving the club in January and Wayne Bridge arriving, if Chelsea can be persuaded to part with the left-back.

Hughes is believed to be hopeful of securing the services of Bridge, who has started only four league games this season with Ashley Cole for company at Chelsea. Defensive reinforcements are a prime target for City, who have conceded twice in six out of the last seven matches and look desperately vulnerable to counter-attacks. Other defensive buys look likely for Hughes (right), but those heading out of the club may include the Academy graduate Nedum Onouha, midfield anchor Dietmar Hamann and Darius Vassell as well as Javier Garrido – who has looked out of his depth since Sven Goran Eriksson signed him – and Michael Ball.

The prospect of Elano departing will surprise most. Though he has never recaptured the form which made him seem like Eriksson's best summer buy, he has returned to form recently and has been influential in helping his compatriot Robinho to settle. But Hughes is understood to feel that Elano is not a positive dressing-room influence and not a player who can enable City to make the leap to elite football that the Arabs are looking for.

Surprisingly for a side with huge attacking resources, City remain intent on making a major play for Roque Santa Cruz in January, having failed with a £15m bid this summer, and may offer Blackburn Rovers a player plus cash to secure his services. The dire defensive error by City's captain, Richard Dunne, which gifted Tottenham Hotspur a goal on Sunday has given rise to a feeling that he may not be long for City but, despite Eriksson's reluctance to offer him a new contract, it is understood that Hughes has resolved to persist with him. The same goes for Micah Richards, a player who is going backwards at the moment and who has not impressed Hughes in training.

Though Hughes goes into his first encounter with Sheikh Mansour on the back of a ringing endorsement from the club's chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, there is a view among some sources in the Middle East that the absence of superstar names from his shopping list is at odds with the Arabs' belief that players such as Robinho represent the way ahead. Though City's poor form has not in itself put Hughes' future in any doubt, he has never been comfortable with the idea of superstar signings – preferring, it seems, Wayne Bridge to Barcelona's Eric Abidal, Santa Cruz to Kaka – and this might be a stumbling block. Some in Abu Dhabi say a new manager is being sought already, though Mubarak categorically denied that yesterday.

The policy of hiring big names was espoused by Sulaiman al-Fahim, the initial figurehead for the United Abu Dhabi Group, who seemed to have been moved from the spotlight when, to ridicule in some quarters, he declared players of the Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Torres ilk could be brought to City. Though his current influence is unclear, it is understood that he has put together a new report suggesting five names are needed for January.

Fahim could not be reached last night, but the prevailing view from the Middle East points to some soul-searching about the extent to which City can be developed the Hughes way. The statement which the purchase of Robinho represented and the way it made City the talk of the planet helped Sheikh Mansour realise what has always been the overriding aim of his £200m purchase of City – to bring global recognition to Abu Dhabi.

Hughes will miss only one day's training to make his trip, which sees him fly out tonight and return in the early hours of Friday. He seems to have an ally in Mubarak, who dined with the manager's family on Saturday. Mubarak rubbished reports Sir Alex Ferguson's son Darren, who manages Peterborough, or Jose Mourinho might be targets for the manager's chair at Eastlands. "This is a 10-year dynasty we are building and we are only in the first two months," Mubarak said. "We are calm and under control and we [the board] have the highest regard for Mark."

Eastlands exits? Players to be sold

*Nedum Onuoha (21, defender)

*Javier Garrido (23, defender)

*Michael Ball (29, defender)

*Elano (27, midfielder)

*Dietmar Hamann (35, midfielder)

*Darius Vassell (28, striker)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing