STEPHEN IRELAND is not paying too much attention to transfer speculation as he fights for his future at Manchester City.
The Irish midfielder established himself as a key player for the club a couple of seasons ago but had limited opportunities to impress under Roberto Mancini towards the end of last term.
The arrival of more new faces this summer will make it more difficult for Ireland to feature regularly, and reports have suggested that he could be on the move. Sunderland and Tottenham are among those thought to be monitoring his situation but the 23-year-old knows nothing about any concrete interest.
He admits he might have to consider his options if he is not playing much when the transfer window reopens halfway through the campaign, but for now he is focused solely on doing as well as he can for City.
"I am very ambitious but accept things are out of my hands. I have a contract so all I can do is keep performing, presenting myself well in training," Ireland explained.
"If I have to move on, then so be it, but I am happy to stay and keep working.
"Of course, if I haven’t played much by Christmas then any player would want to know what is happening.
"I have heard Fulham, Spurs and Sunderland mentioned but I have not been told anything.
"I’d hope the club would contact me if there was some interest, but I am not looking at that.
"I am working my socks off in training and trying to prove I am good enough to be here and stay."
Mancini’s recent challenge for Ireland to prove that he deserves to be in City’s 25-man squad indicates that he could have to be patient this season.
However, Ireland is relishing the competition for places and believes he can play a crucial role over the coming 12 months.
"I want to push for a place in the starting 11. It might take me a while to prove that to him but I will do everything in my power to work hard and prove to him I can play," he stated.
"I think he definitely rates me and he has put me in my position that sets me free in certain areas.
"Hopefully, I can play a part in what is happening here."
However should Ireland eventually leave Eastlands, it appears unlikely that White Hart Lane will be his destination.
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has hinted that he could look to City in his bid to strengthen his squad but fears Ireland could be too expensive.
"I just need a couple of fresh faces that would make the difference," Redknapp said.
"One or two walk through the door and it gives everybody a lift. I hoped Joe Cole would have done that if he’d come here but I think there are one or two out there who would do the same – maybe from Manchester City.
"I think there will be a lot of loans about, because teams are going to loan people out just to get them off the wage bill.
"City look like they might have to do that with one or two because they’ve got a big squad so it will be interesting.
"Stephen Ireland would cost too much. I like him but he is expensive at £11m (€13.2m) or £12m (€14.4m).
"We wouldn’t be in a position to spend that much on him, it would be a problem."