The 30-year-old defender has slipped to fourth-choice at Etihad Stadium and is concerned that he will also lose his England place if he does not leave in the summer
By Paul Clennam
Joleon Lescott will sacrifice a substantial pay-off and quit Manchester City at the end of the season, Goal.com understands.
The 30-year-old has struggled to nail down a place in the City first team since falling out with manager Roberto Mancini in October, and is concerned that another season on the bench will ruin his chances of playing at the 2014 World Cup.
Despite a centre-back berth being up for grabs at Etihad Stadium since Vincent Kompany picked up a calf injury in January, Lescott has only deputised on three occasions in the Premier League and has recently lost his place to Kolo Toure – though he did feature in the club’s 4-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday.
And although he has played five of the last six World Cup qualifiers for England, he understands that his place in Roy Hodgson’s plans is under threat once John Terry, Gary Cahill and Michael Dawson return to fitness.
Now fourth-choice central defender with the Premier League champions, Lescott is willing to part fund his next transfer out of his own pocket.
City paid £22 million [€26m] for Lescott in 2009, but now value him at just £5m [€6m]. It is understood that the former Everton stopper is willing to lower that asking price by contributing the majority of his loyalty bonus.
Lescott earns €107,000 per week on a deal that expires at the end of next season, and will offer his remaining earnings to the club in order to force through a move as soon as possible,
Meanwhile, Scott Sinclair will also leave the Etihad this summer but, unlike Lescott, it is City who are willing to pay money in order to get him off the books.
The winger signed a four-year deal worth €47,000 per week after his £6.5m [€7.7m] deadline day arrival from Swansea in August.
But he has featured even less than Lescott this season, having played a total of just 55 minutes in the Premier League since September 23.
Everton lead a posse of clubs who are willing to hand City their money back and match Sinclair’s current pay packet.