Scolari's demand for £3.9m a year cools City interest

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The Independent Football

Thaksin Shinawatra's representatives have made another approach to Luiz Felipe Scolari but, amid signs that the pursuit is failing, the Portugal manager is believed to be seeking £3.9m a year to take the manager's job at Manchester City.

The figure – £700,000 more than the City owner had been offering – may be a deliberately unrealistic one, designed to fend off a move for which Scolari is understood never to have harboured much enthusiasm.

City have not yet increased their original offer and also reiterated, in their latest meeting with Scolari's representatives last week, that they will wait no longer than the end of this month for an answer. The view from the Thaksin camp is that the club's need to prepare for next season demands a quick response. Scolari has always said he will not decide until the finish of the European Championship at the end of next month and the impasse on that issue seems far from being resolved.

In a curious development, sources close to Scolari say they have been told that the club might be prepared to stick with Eriksson next season, though they suspect this may be a strategy to pressurise Scolari into making a decision within the Premier League club's time-frame.

City's second choice is Slaven Bilic but the Croatia manager, having just signed a new contract, is unlikely to be pressed to a decision before the championship concludes, either.

There is no great optimism at the club that Eriksson does have a future at Eastlands but City's tour of Thailand does seems to have been undertaken with a remarkable amount of good grace by the Swede, considering he expects the sack. He has met Thaksin five times and described their relationship as "good" at the weekend. The tone certainly contrasts with Eriksson's recent demands that he be given "clear words, one way or another" from Thaksin's right-hand man, Pairoj Piempongsant, about his future.

It is conceivable that Eriksson already knows his fate but agreed, under the terms of a severance package, to say nothing until he returns from Thailand with his players tomorrow night.

* The Rangers striker Steven Naismith will be out for a year following a knee operation. The winger Chris Burke could also be out for six months after ankle surgery. Both players were injured in the Scottish Cup semi-final against St Johnstone at Hampden Park last month.

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