Transfer Rumour Rater: Joleon Lescott to Leave Man City in the January Window

Phil KeidelContributor IIDecember 5, 2013

Lescott (left) and Hart are making the best of things on City's bench.
Lescott (left) and Hart are making the best of things on City's bench.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott continues to crop up in transfer rumours, but City boss Manuel Pellegrini insists that he is not going anywhere any time soon.

Lescott's frustration at not featuring more often at City is old news. He fell out of favor with former Citizens manager Roberto Mancini after some high-profile errors and ultimately lost his spot in City's XI to Matija Nastasic.

Mancini's departure and the arrival of Pellegrini were viewed by Lescott as a chance to get back in the mix. According to David Anderson of Mirror Football, back in June, Lescott sought "talks with Pellegrini to see if he figures in the Chilean's plans."

We know now how that turned out.

Jamie Jackson's story in The Guardian quoted Lescott about his status at City: 

I need to be given a fair opportunity. I know no one can guarantee me playing every week but I would like to think that given a fair opportunity to play, if I am playing in the team I can do well enough to stay in the team.

Lescott has appeared in half of City's Premier League matches to date, but he has been virtually invisible in City's Champions League campaign (starting just one of five matches).

These are especially troubling developments for Lescott given the injury woes suffered by Vincent Kompany, Nastasic and Martin Demichelis early in the season. At times, Pellegrini opted to play midfielder Javi Garcia out of position at centre-back rather than giving Lescott a chance.

Not surprisingly, rumours tying Lescott to a January move to Manchester United, via David Lynch of the Manchester Evening News, have recently bubbled to the surface.

Also not surprisingly, Pellegrini is flatly denying that Lescott is available.

"The squad we have from the beginning is the squad we need...Lescott has been playing in the last few games," Pellegrini said recently, according to Sky Sports.

Manager-speak is often intentionally misleading, but in this case, Pellegrini is probably telling the truth.

The fee City could conceivably receive for Lescott in January is worth less than keeping him around for the stretch runs in both Champions League knockout play and the Premier League title race.

And of all the things Pellegrini might do, selling Lescott to United is the least likely of all.

For Pellegrini and City, the only thing wrong with United being ninth in the table right now is that the Red Devils are not lower than that.