Manchester City want to get the wheels moving on their summer clearout within the next week – with Marseille ready to offer striker Emmanuel Adebayor a route out of Eastlands.
The Blues are struggling to shift a host of high-earning fringe players as Roberto Mancini looks to reshape his squad for a Champions League challenge.
And they want to start shipping out stars before Mancini’s men return for pre-season training, with Adebayor and Craig Bellamy at the top of the exit list.
But club officials are standing firm in their insistence that they will not allow players to go cheaply.
City have accepted that they will take a hit on Adebayor, who signed a five-year contract when he arrived from Arsenal for £25m in 2009.
They refused to buckle, though, when Real Madrid tried to talk down his price from £12m to £5m last month.
It meant that the striker’s hopes of a permanent move to the Bernabeu, where he spent the second half of last season on loan, hit the buffers. Since then, the 27-year-old has knocked back a move to Russian club Zenit St Petersburg.
Adebayor, who has been in Ghana this week at the launch of a project he funded to improve water access for local communities, told an African radio station that he did not want to move to Russia.
“There is no chance of me going to Zenit,” he said. “I love the country but I don’t think I can see myself playing in the Russia league.
“I have an ex-girlfriend who is from Russia so it is nothing about Russia.
“There is nothing bad about Russia but I cannot see myself there playing football.
“If I have to go back to Manchester City, I will do that with pleasure and if I have to stay in Madrid, I will stay with pleasure – because at the end of the day, what is important is that I want to play.
“When I was not playing at Manchester City, I knew there was lots of criticism and people were saying maybe I was not really good enough to play football.
“And when I joined Madrid, I proved everyone that they were wrong.
“I’m very happy about that and it doesn’t really matter where I’m going next season.
“Right now, I’m enjoying my holidays and I leave the rest of the job in my manager’s hand.
“He is there to find me a club, that is his job