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Pearce on the Malbranque trail

last updated Monday 15th May 2006, 11:34 AM
Steed Malbranque
Steed Malbranque
Steed MalbranqueStories

STUART Pearce is back on the trail of French midfielder Steed Malbranque in a move that would help appease the Blues' increasingly disaffected fans.

Fulham's decision to place the versatile 26-year-old on the transfer list has persuaded the City chief to have one last crack at luring his long-term quarry north.

Pearce faces two major stumbling blocks - Malbranque's lofty wage demands and the transfer fee - but will not allow them to prevent him seeking a solution. Malbranque has been the Blues' most wanted man since Pearce took over from Kevin Keegan.

The player rejected a series of bids last summer when City were prepared to pay £5m.

Now that he has only a year left on his current contract and has refused a new one, Malbranque's price tag has halved and Pearce may well attempt to persuade Fulham to take one of his contract hold-outs, Sylvain Distin, or an experienced fringe player in part-exchange.

City could get around the wage issue by offering a four or five-year deal with a hefty signing-on fee and Pearce must now hope that his persistence and obvious admiration, both strike a chord in a player who engineered two wins over the Blues this season.

Source Chris Bailey at Manchester Evening News
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