Marc-Vivien Foe looks set to see out the remaining year of his contract with French club Lyon.
Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan had hoped to tie up a permanent deal for the Cameroon midfielder, who impressed during his season-long loan stint at Maine Road and told a players’ meeting last week he would do ‘everything in his power’ to ensure Foe was still at the club next season.
However, Keegan has been frustrated by Lyon’s unwillingness to reduce their £7m (€10m) valuation for the 28-year-old, even though he will be available for free under the Bosman Ruling in 12 months’ time.
Foe, who was equally keen to remain with City, had discussions with senior Lyon officials yesterday and, with the French club on the brink of qualification for next season’s Champions League, it now appears most likely he will stay.
“Marc is open-minded about what he is going to do but at this stage it seems most likely he will stay at Lyon for the final year of his contract,” said Foe’s agent Willie McKay.
“He has spoken with the Lyon president, who is quite keen to have him back and Marc also knows he will have the opportunity of playing in the Champions League.
“He likes Manchester City but he needs more long-term commitment.”
A major factor behind Foe’s decision is the massive salary he will receive from Lyon.
It is believed the player took a pay cut to join City and with Keegan confirming a couple of weeks ago that most of his squad can expect a drop in wages when their present contracts come to an end, the difference in earnings was only likely to get wider.
However, it does not mean the former West Ham player has made his last appearance for City.
Keegan has previously stated that if no deal could be done this summer, he would not hesitate to move back in for Foe when his contract finally expires, although that would depend on him being unable to find a suitable replacement in the meantime.
Keegan has been linked with a move for Georgian international keeper Giorgi Lomaia.
The retirement of Peter Schmeichel leaves Keegan needing a new number one and though he has been strongly linked with West Ham’s David James and Sunderland’s Thomas Sorensen, it appears Lomaia is also on his hit-list.
Lokomotiv Tblisi’s highly-rated 22-year-old, who starred in his country’s shock Euro 2004 qualifying win over Russia last month, has also been tracked by Arsenal, whose manager Arsene Wenger is expected to watch him in action for Georgia against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on June 11.
However, Lokomotiv coach Gocha Tamazashvilli has also claimed that both City and Aston Villa will send representatives to Tblisi to watch Lomaia in league action towards the end of this month.
“We will arrange their stay in Georgia,” confirmed Tamazashvilli.
“It looked like they were very interested in him.”