Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge is set to join Manchester City after boss Mark Hughes confirmed on Friday that the two clubs have agreed an undisclosed fee for the England international.
Bridge only recently extended his Chelsea contract until 2012, but he has struggled to hold down a first-team spot at Stamford Bridge when Ashley Cole is fit and the Blues are willing to let the left-back leave.
Hughes has been given a substantial transfer war chest by City’s Abu Dhabi-based owners and he hopes to tie up Bridge this weekend in what promises to be the first of several big-money signings arriving at Eastlands this month.
“My understanding is the clubs have agreed a fee,” Hughes said. “We need to speak to the boy and try to agree personal terms. If we can do that, hopefully Wayne will be a Manchester City player, that’s the aim.”
Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has to sell before he can buy in the window and he admitted he would have no problem letting Bridge move on for a reported fee of around £12 million (US$17.3 million).
“If they have a good deal, it is no problem for me,” Scolari said. “If any club wants to buy a player from Chelsea, they have to offer big money because if they play for Chelsea they are very good players.”
Scolari was set to field a young team in yesterday’s FA Cup third round tie against League One side Southend at Stamford Bridge, but the Brazilian was adamant he was not disrespecting the competition.
Center-back Michael Mancienne, who was called up by England after a successful loan spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers, was likely to feature.
“I have some problems in the squad. Five or six players who have played a lot more games will not be involved in this game,” Scolari said. “I gave Mancienne time to grow up. Now he’s better than before. When I arrived, I had four central defenders, but since then I’ve never had four,” he said. “I’ve had three or two and had many injuries. Now I give Mancienne a chance to come back.”