x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

City opt not to renew Vieira's contract

The World Cup winner played a bit-role last season while Woodgate, Hargeaves and Upson also available on a free transfer, more news

Patrick Vieira will no longer be patrolling the midfield for Manchester City.
Patrick Vieira will no longer be patrolling the midfield for Manchester City.

Former internationals Patrick Vieira, Jonathan Woodgate and Owen Hargreaves were among those released by their clubs, the Premier League said yesterday when they revealed a list of players given free transfers.

The departures of Manchester United's Hargreaves and Tottenham Hotspur's Woodgate were both widely expected after injuries blighted their spells with their clubs.

Hargreaves' time at Old Trafford was cursed by physical problems and the combative midfielder made only 39 appearances after joining to considerable fanfare from Bayern Munich for £17 million in 2007.

World Cup winner Vieira, who turns 35 next week, was released by Manchester City after playing a bit-part role in their resurgence since joining them from Inter Milan in January last year.

Former Real Madrid defender Woodgate was similarly blighted and spent much of his three-and-a-half years at Tottenham on the treatment table.

The elegant defender was often touted as England's most naturally gifted centre back but managed only four games in his final two seasons.

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, has branded Chelsea's reported £22 million (Dh132) bid to sign Luka Modric as "ridiculous" and insisted that his midfield star will not be leaving the club this summer.

The 64-year-old Redknapp recently described Modric as "irreplaceable" after the Londoners are understood to have had a £22million offer for the Croatian playmaker rejected on Wednesday night. "Luka is not for sale," Redknapp told the BBC.

"If there has been a bid of £22m, that is ridiculous. There are people being sold for £20m who are not fit to lace Luka's boots."

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell says Arsenal can expect a bid of less than €40 million (Dh207m) if the Catalan club decides to pursue Cesc Fabregas.

Barcelona tried to bring back its former youth player during the offseason last year, but Arsenal refused to sell.

The Spain midfielder has said he has left any decision on his future to Arsenal, while adding that "Barca is the best team in the world and going there guarantees titles."

England international Matthew Upson was one of eight players released by West Ham United as the Premier League's relegated clubs looked to reduce their squad numbers.

Blackpool released 11 players as they prepare for their return to England's second tier, while Birmingham City shed 12 from their books including former England striker Kevin Phillips.

Another French World Cup winner Robert Pires was released by Aston Villa after joining on a free transfer in November and former Liverpool, Chelsea and Netherlands midfielder Boudewijn Zenden was let go by Sunderland.