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14 Jan 2011

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has confirmed Roque Santa Cruz and Shaun Wright-Phillips are likely to leave the club in the coming days.

Paraguayan striker Santa Cruz is poised to rejoin Blackburn, the club where he first made his mark in England.

Winger Wright-Phillips has been linked with Fulham, Birmingham and West Ham.

Mancini said he is reluctant to allow striker Emmanuel Adebayor to leave until he knows whether Mario Balotelli requires surgery on his knee injury.

Santa Cruz and Wright-Phillips were both signed by former boss Mark Hughes but have fallen out of favour during Mancini's tenure.

Wright-Phillips could be tempted to link up with Hughes again at Fulham but Santa Cruz is keen to stay in the north west, where his family are settled.

The Paraguayan scored 23 goals for Blackburn in the 2007-08 season, before joining City for £17.5 million in 2009.

Hampered by injuries, he has only started eight games for City, with a further 16 appearances from the bench. His sole start this season came in the League Cup in September.

"Roque will probably go to Blackburn," said Mancini. "Every player wants to play. I understand that. But it is difficult for me.

"If an opportunity for either of them to play came up, then it would be better for them and I hope for Roque that in one or two days, he will have that.

"It is the same situation for Roque and Shaun Wright-Phillips. He has two or three options."

The Adebayor situation is complicated by concern over Italian striker Balotelli, who is out for at least a month and may need surgery on a persistent knee problem.

Several clubs have expressed interest in former Arsenal frontman Adebayor, who has also fallen down the pecking order at City this season, but Mancini is wary of leaving himself short of options.

"A lot of teams want Emmanuel but at the moment we have to wait for Mario Balotelli," admitted Mancini.

"Maybe Manu will leave but we have another 20 days, so we have time to make a decision.

"If we lose three or four, we might end up in a situation where we don't have enough players for the remainder of the season."

City released left-back Wayne Bridge on loan to West Ham on Wednesday.


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