Today's report from Neil Custis in The Sun gives four names of possible casualties should Roberto Mancini remain in charge; Emmanuel Adebayor, Stephen Ireland, Shaun Wright-Phillips and
Stephen Ireland Wayne Bridge.
It smells of plausibility. It is easy to denigrate the reliability of tabloid reports but Neil Custis was ahead of the curve on these two MCFC transfer stories before.
I can certainly see Mancini seeking to shed all four of those players from the squad. Ireland, Wright-Phillips and Bridge have all had very patchy seasons, and there are questions over the ability of all three to compete in the Champions League. Adebayor might feel unfairly done by - 13 in 22 in the EPL is a decent return, given everything - but there are grounds for his replacement; namely that Carlos Tévez is our best player and we should find a more natural partner for him than the free-spirited and fairly casual Adebayor. This could be Fernando Torres, but it wouldn't have to be - there are others who could do that job well.
On an emotional level I would be devastated to see Stephen Ireland leave, because I love him and am desperate for him to succeed at City. But Mancini has clearly seen what Mark Hughes came to recognise - that Ireland needs a side built round him, and that a team chasing honours cannot always afford that. I am fond of Shaun Wright-Phillips, too, for obvious reasons. But I have little to no emotional attachment to Bridge and Adebayor, beyond gratitude and respect for continuing to play well despite difficult (but very different) personal circumstances that they have endured this season.
Of course, this whole report is premised on the idea that Roberto Mancini will be manager throughout the summer. This can't be guaranteed. So let's wait and see who's boss next year before going any further with this.