West Ham agree deal with Man City to take Joleon Lescott for £90,000 a week
West Ham United have agreed a 3½-year deal with Manchester City to sign Joleon Lescott as they battle against relegation.
However the move may collapse because Manchester City are adamant they will not release the England international until after Jan 20 and West Ham are unsure they can wait another week, despite a 2-0 victory at relegation rivals Cardiff City on Saturday.
It is also unclear whether Lescott wants to move to West Ham and face a survival fight or wait to see if offers come in from other clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United.
The 31-year-old has six months left on his contract at the Etihad and wants to secure regular first-team football as he battles for a place in England’s squad for the World Cup in Brazil.
West Ham are believed to have agreed a deal with City a week ago matching Lescott’s wages of £90,000 a week for the rest of this campaign and then agreeing to pay the central defender £70,000 a week for another three years even if they are relegated.
West Ham’s commitment of more than £12 million in wages for Lescott is brave given the very real prospect the club could go down, but he is regarded as someone who could save them from the drop and provide leadership.
West Ham are desperately short of central defenders with Winston Reid, James Tomkins and James Collins all having suffered from injuries, while right-back Guy Demel sustained a suspected broken elbow and concussion yesterday. Co-owner David Gold tweeted last night to say the player was staying in hospital in Cardiff overnight after losing consciousness “for several minutes”.
City have indicated that Lescott will be allowed to go once all their central defenders are fit. Martin Demichelis, Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic are all now available, while Micah Richards
is also fit. Lescott, who joined City from Everton for £24 million, formed a formidable partnership with Kompany in the club’s title-winning season two years ago. But he has fallen out of favour since then under Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini.
West Ham are pushing ahead with plans to further bolster their squad, although they were dealt a blow on Friday when Inter Milan demanded a fee of £7 million for Algerian striker Ishak Belfodil rather than allowing the 21-year-old to go on loan.
The club are now looking at other options but can go about their transfer business with renewed confidence after Carlton Cole and Mark Noble secured victory for them on Saturday.
“I think we’ve shown that sticking together and keeping to the game plan gives us a good result,” assistant manager Neil McDonald said after the game. “It keeps us out of the bottom three, which is great.”