Joleon Lescott Should Not Be Allowed to Leave City Without a Replacement

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Joleon Lescott Should Not Be Allowed to Leave City Without a Replacement
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According to Mark Ogden of the Telegraph, Joleon Lescott is almost certain to leave Manchester City in January, with Tottenham or Newcastle looking like his most likely destination. The 31-year-old defender, who isn't part of Manuel Pellegrini's first-choice XI, has made just 13 appearances this season.

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Lescott, whose contract is due to expire in the summer, is said to have held talks with Pellegrini after the 3-2 win away at Swansea on New Year's Day, with the Chilean thought to have sanctioned a loan move for the final months of his contract to give him the best possible chance of securing a permanent move in the summer.

Lescott first lost his place in the City side last season when former boss Roberto Mancini signed Matija Nastasic, and he has slipped further down the pecking order since the arrival of Martin Demichelis from Atletico Madrid, a player Pellegrini clearly admires.

For Lescott, a move makes sense, but City would surely have to bring a replacement in before a deal could be done. The new year brings a Premier League title race, the club's first involvement in the Champions League knock-out stages, an FA Cup campaign and a Capital One Cup semi-final doubleheader.

With City competing on four fronts, and with Lescott having played in 13 matches already, it's clear he would leave a hole that needs filling.

One player who fits the bill is French Under-21 centre-half Kurt Zouma, valued at around £10 million (via the Mirror). The Saint-Etienne starlet, 19, is thought to be high on City's wish list, but a recent 10-match ban for a poor tackle on Sochaux's Thomas Guerbert means they may put off a deal, according to Alan Nixon of the Mirror.

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Another defender thought to be interesting City is Porto's Eliaquim Mangala (via the Mirror). Mangala, a 22-year-old France international, would cost significantly more than Zouma but would be ready for first-team action immediately. He is strong, quick and athletic, and after a less-than-convincing start to life as a Porto player, he has been impressing scouts across Europe with his ability for over 18 months.

However, with City's new prudent approach to transfers, Zouma may well prove their preferred option should Lescott be allowed to leave.

Pellegrini has a clear vision of how he wants City to play, with 11 players who are all comfortable in possession of the ball and a strong emphasis on attack. Although a good defender, Lescott often appears to struggle with his touch and distribution, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he was allowed to leave before his contract runs out.

But City would be foolish to let him go without a player coming in. If their top targets prove unavailable in January, and there are no adequate short-term replacements on the market, Lescott will surely be made to see out the remaining six months of his deal.

Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.

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