City declare interest in return of prodigal son

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The Independent Online

The Manchester City manager, Stuart Pearce, has admitted he would be interested in bringing Shaun Wright-Phillips back to Eastlands.

The England winger left City for Chelsea in a club-record £21m deal 16 months ago but has failed to establish himself at Stamford Bridge. Wright-Phillips did not even make the bench for Sunday's 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford and last week the Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon dropped the first hint that the Premiership champions would be interested in letting the 25-year-old leave, after revealing that West Ham United had inquired about him.

Pearce has confirmed that if Chelsea approved Wright-Phillips's departure, he intends to be in the queue to sign him. "If a price was set and Chelsea were prepared to sell him, just think what a big lift it would give everyone here for Shaun to walk back through the door," said Pearce.

"You would have to go some to have a combination of Shaun and Micah [Richards] playing on the same side of the pitch. The question is whether Chelsea would want to sell him, after that it is something for our board to decide."

Pearce has twice tried to bring Wright-Phillips back to Eastlands on loan but there has to be a doubt over whether City could come up with the kind of money Chelsea would be ask for.

Although his time at Chelsea has been tortuous, culminating in his failure to win a place in Sven-Goran Eriksson's World Cup squad, Pearce is confident he could quickly rediscover the form that got him his move south in the first place.

"I have no doubt about that," Pearce said. "He is a very level-headed lad. He is the same kid he was when he first broke into the Manchester City team some years ago."

Meanwhile Claudio Reyna has dismissed speculation that he will leave City and return to the United States during the January transfer window.

The veteran midfielder has long claimed an intention to spend the latter stages of his career in Major League Soccer.

Reyna, 33, is in the final year of his current contract and although he remains a regular member of Stuart Pearce's starting line-up, at least two MLS clubs have enquired about his services for next season.

However Reyna, who starred in four World Cup finals for his country and captained them in Germany last summer, insists he is going nowhere.

"Rumours start about any American player once they hit my age, but I am not sure where they are coming from," he said. "There are clubs back home that are interested but at the moment there is nothing to it."

After starting in a new-look midfield that included Richards at Liverpool on Saturday, Reyna is expected to keep his place as City look to secure their first away win of the season at Aston Villa tonight.

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