Stephen Ireland has, quite rightly, gained a reputation as a stupid footballer over recent years with some of his antics. But he is not quite as stupid as he looks.
The midfielder has been watching Manchester City’s transfer dealings from close quarters and spotted (as many other football clubs have also noticed) that City will pretty much pay whatever you ask for if they want something bad enough.
Ireland also knows that they desperately want to sign Aston Villa’s James Milner. So upon hearing that he was being offered in part-exchange, he requested a £2m loyalty payment from Citeh as a sweetener in the deal.
The transfer deal and personal terms for both players at the prospective new clubs have already been agreed. The only thing holding the deal up is Ireland’s 11th-hour request, which City sources say they will not pay.
The protracted deal is now on the point of collapsing as Ireland holds out for his pay-off.
City boss Roberto Mancini has already told former crowd favourite Ireland that he will not be part of his 25-man squad for the season.