Joleon Lescott keen to agree new contract with Manchester City

The England defender had at one stage appeared likely to leave the Etihad

Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott is keen to stay at the Etihad Stadium and secure a new contract.

The England international is in the final year of his present deal and his future has been the subject of speculation.

The 30-year-old fell down the pecking order under former manager Roberto Mancini last season and there have been suggestions he could move on to further his international ambitions, particularly in a World Cup year.

But Lescott himself has given no hint that he wants to leave and, after starting City's first two matches of the season, wants to prove himself to new boss Manuel Pellegrini.

Lescott told City: "I have expressed a number of times that nothing more would please me than to sign an extension.

"If that negotiating ever happens I will be there with my pen ready to sign."

Lescott formed a formidable central defensive partnership with Vincent Kompany in City's title winning 2011-12 season.

Last year the arrival of new signing Matija Nastasic saw him supplanted as first choice while Kolo Toure - who has since left for Liverpool - was also being preferred to him by the end of the campaign.

Injuries to Kompany and Nastasic at the start of this term have seen Lescott given a chance by Pellegrini but there are suggestions the club want to sign a new centre-back.

Atletico Madrid's Martin Demichelis has been strongly linked with a move to City ahead of next week's transfer deadline.

Lescott said: "It is no different than any other time.

"Most of my City career has been determined by pressure being put on - by myself, and by speculation of the club buying a centre-half.

"This year is no different. There may be more pressure with it being my last year but I am using that as a challenge, and an exciting challenge.

"I want to stay and be a part of the future but I understand there is a business side to it and if it is not to be I will walk away from the club with my head held high and no regrets."

City are looking to respond against promoted Hull on Saturday after slipping up at Cardiff last weekend.

The club also now know their opponents for their third venture into the Champions League - one which they hope will be significantly more successful than their first two.

City have exited at the group stage in each of the past two seasons but this year might be more hopeful after drawing Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen.

Director of football Txiki Begiristain said: "We have improved the team, we have a new manager with a lot of experience in the Champions League and we hope we will be stronger in the Champions League."

PA

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