Bridge's loan move to West Ham blocked by City wage demand

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The Independent Football

Manchester City have told clubs wishing to secure loan-deals for their out-of-favour stars such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and Wayne Bridge this month that they will have to pay their wages in full.

West Ham United have already had a big offer for Bridge rejected. The Hammers were prepared to pay £68,000 of Bridge's £90,000 weekly wages but were told by City's football administrator, Brian Marwood, that their offer was not acceptable. The shortfall was made up of a combination of signing-on fees, image rights and some wages which West Ham felt could reasonably be covered by City.

It is understood that Marwood has been instructed by the hierarchy of the club, up to the chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak, to pursue a policy of demanding that loanees have their wages covered in full. While it is a sound idea in principle it is simply not common practice in football where convention dictates that for players earning the kind of wages paid by City, some of the wages in a loan deal are borne by the club that owns the player.

The frustration for those players such as Bridge and Adebayor who want a loan or a move in order to get first- team football is that they have been told City will not countenance a move for them to a potential title rival. Ironically they are the only clubs who would be able to cover the player's full wages.

West Ham felt that their offer for Bridge was reasonable and the player himself was happy to go. Bridge, 30, has had only one start in the Premier League all season, back in October. He started the Europa League game against Juventus last month and the Italian club are one of a few European sides who have expressed an interest in taking him on loan until the end of the season but they too would not be able to afford his wages in full.

Bridge has two years left on his contract and wants to be in City's first team though he is so far out of favour that he is a marginal choice even to be in the squad to play against Blackpool today.

Bridge felt that playing at West Ham would give him a chance to see more of his son, who lives with his ex-partner in Surrey, and wanted the chance to show that he has kept himself in good condition since losing his place at City to Aleksandar Kolarov.

Roberto Mancini, who has kept a tight rein on fringe players, insisted that those squad members, including Bridge and Adebayor, who did not travel to St James' Park for the Boxing Day fixture had to report to the training ground.

While City's hardline attitude on only accepting loan offers on the basis that all wages are covered is expected to soften in the future, that might be too late for Bridge to get his move to West Ham. The manager Avram Grant also has the option of signing Emiliano Insua, the Liverpool full-back on loan at Galatasaray, as cover in the left-back position.

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