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The Guardian

Fuming Hughes keen to dump three Manchester City rebels

• Elano, Jo and Ben Haim placed on transfer list
• Players complain to City chief about manager

Mark Hughes is hoping to offload Jo, Tal Ben Haim and Elano.

Mark Hughes has identified a small but influential group of Manchester City players he fears are trying to lead a dressing-room mutiny against him. There has already been one meeting at which the ringleaders shared their grievances, and a fringe player has complained about Hughes to the club's executive chairman, Garry Cook.

Hughes, the latest Premier League manager to face speculation about a prospective sacking, is said to be dismayed but unsurprised by the unrest. He has been comforted by the fact he retains the backing of the majority of his squad but he has also had prolonged difficulties with some of the players he inherited from Sven-Goran Eriksson, most notably the Brazilian midfielder Elano. His relationship has also deteriorated with two of the players who were bought to the club under his management but entirely on the say-so of the former owner Thaksin Shinawatra, Tal Ben Haim and the Brazilian striker Jo.

Hughes is already seeking ways to offload several of the players he has come to regard as bad apples. Ben Haim has been offered to Blackburn as part of a proposed cash-plus-player exchange for Roque Santa Cruz that would also see City pay a fee of around £18m, and the Israel international is unlikely to be the only player to leave Eastlands.

Elano's relationship with Hughes has rarely been anything better than tepid and, despite being recognised as one of City's more talented passers, the Brazilian has created so many problems he, too, is available to potential buyers. Jo, a £19m recruit from CSKA Moscow, will also be sold or loaned if Hughes gets his way, and it is a measure of how strongly the manager feels that he is prepared for it to impact on the happiness of a third Brazilian, Robinho.

The priority for Hughes, according to well-placed sources inside the club, is to bring in new players and he remains hopeful of taking his spending at City over the £100m mark this week by concluding the deal for Santa Cruz as well as the £12m capture of West Ham's Scott Parker. City have also resurrected their interest in Kolo Touré of Arsenal and lodged a bid for Parker's team-mate, Craig Bellamy, with a back-up offer in place to take on Tottenham Hotspur in the market for Portsmouth's Jermain Defoe. Shay Given, the Newcastle United goalkeeper, is also on Hughes's wish-list.

Once City have worked through that list of names, however, Hughes will confirm to Cook there are several players with whom he feels he can no longer work - some because of their ability but others because of their attitude.

Potential buyers will be encouraged to look at a list that includes Dietmar Hamann, Michael Ball, Javier Garrido, Kasper Schmeichel, Nedum Onuoha and Darius Vassell.

Cook is sympathetic towards the manager and made that perfectly clear to the player who complained to him. However, quotes attributed to Cook yesterday, insisting there is no danger of Hughes being sacked, came from a month-old interview – before the run of games that saw City briefly drop into the Premier League's relegation zone as well as being humiliated in the FA Cup on Saturday by a Nottingham Forest side currently fourth from bottom of the Championship.

That 3-0 defeat has led to calls for Hughes's head from some supporters, although he is still thought to retain the backing of the club's billionaire owners in Abu Dhabi. Yet Hughes's problems can be gauged by the fact that one of the players who was involved in Saturday's game was seen laughing and joking in the showers directly afterwards.

There has also been a discussion on this topic on Sky Sports News (,23791,12606_4753763,00.html) {Link also has some news on Tevez}

Well, it is rather funny :D

But, hopefully the board stick by Sparky and get rid of the rebels. Play-power is a definite no-go in football.
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