It’s generally agreed that Newcastle need a creative midfielder to add to their squad, and that will give the side something extra they don’t have now.
Stephen Ireland – may be available this summer
And that player should be under 26, so the club is building for the future, and it seems one player who seems to fit the bill perfectly is Manchester City’s Stephen Ireland, who has lost his place in the Manchester City side since Roberto Mancini arrived at Eastlands.
That seems hardly likely to change next season, and the 23 year-old midfielder may have to consider his options in the summer.
This is what Stephen said today:
“It’s been difficult because I’ve only played 15 or 16 times which is nowhere near the amount I played last year,”
“When I have played, I haven’t played in my position and it’s been a difficult and frustrating season for me.”
“I think there’s a question mark over next year for me and I don’t know what will happen, but it’s out of my hands.”
“I’m just getting on with my day job. Football is very unpredictable. You never know how things are going to go.”
“I’m contracted to City and all I can do is carry on doing my job and performing well when I’m called upon, and if anything changes over the summer it will be down to the club not me.”
Stephen was an important player under former Manchester City manager Mark Hughes, and last season he was the Player of the Year at the Manchester club.
The Ireland International has been capped 6 times and has 4 goals but has refused to play for his country since September of 2007.
At that time he was given compassionate leave by then manager Steve Staunton, following the death of his grandmother, but it turned out he had lied about the death of his grandmother to visit his girlfriend in Cork, who had recently had a miscarriage.
Staunton and the Irish authorities were furious, and the bottom line is that Stephen has refused to play for his country since then.
Stephen has played 167 times for Manchester City since 2005, with 23 goals, and he is a very good play-maker of Premier league class.
But he has managed only 11 appearances under Mancini and admits he is frustrated by things right now, although he only signed a five-year deal last summer, when Mark Hughes was still the manager.
We understand Sunderland’s Steve Bruce is also interested in the player, and it could be he would be to expensive for Newcastle – but he would seem to fit the bill at Newcastle.
There’s also midfielder Michael Johnson, the now 22 year-old also at Manchester City, who Newcastle bid £8M for some 15 months ago, but couldn’t get the deal through at the last minute in that January transfer window.
Michael, who has 2 caps at the England U21 level back in 2007, seems to have completely lost his way at Eastlands, appearing only 10 times in the last two seasons, although he has 45 total appearances and 3 goals for the City side.
He has had a few serous injuries in that time, but the 6′ tall Urmston, Manchester born player is another midfielder Newcastle may be considering this summer.