Grant fed up with agents’ dirty tricks

PUBLISHED: 14:07 18 July 2007 | UPDATED: 10:24 14 September 2010

DAVID CUFFLEY

City boss Peter Grant admits he cannot rule out losing more of his players following the controversial sale of Dickson Etuhu. The 25-year-old midfielder completed a £1.5m move to Sunderland yesterday, and the future of Moroccan international Youssef Safri remains unclear after persistent reports linking him with West Bromwich Albion.

City boss Peter Grant admits he cannot rule out losing more of his players following the controversial sale of Dickson Etuhu.

The 25-year-old midfielder completed a £1.5m move to Sunderland yesterday, and the future of Moroccan international Youssef Safri remains unclear after persistent reports linking him with West Bromwich Albion.

Sources in the Midlands revealed that the deal has stalled as Safri wants in the region of £10,000-a-week, with Albion's offer being nearer £6,000-a-week.

Speaking after last night's 12-0 pre-season victory at Lowestoft and ahead of tonight's friendly against King's Lynn at The Walks (7.45pm), Grant said Etuhu's exit had hit him “like a sledgehammer” but it was not possible to guarantee keeping any player.

He said: “You never know when people come in and ask for players. The biggest thing is you don't know what's going on behind your back in football.

“People have questioned the Safri situation. I've had one agent telling me Saf's staying here. Then another agent says he doesn't represent him, so who does represent him?

“That's a question you're going to be asking about Saf. Nobody knows. People who are not even representing players now are trying to sell them to other clubs and then tell the player, so they can make money from it.

“That's what we're dealing with in the modern day game, unfortunately. It's easy to upset a player because you fill his head with nonsense. You tell him you can get him x, y, or z amount of money elsewhere and obviously his focus goes somewhere else and as soon as people are not focused on playing here, they won't be here.”

Grant said he would not keep players who were not committed to the club.

He said: “I don't fear losing players because the bottom line is, the players make the decision. They'll tell you 'I don't want to be here, gaffer' and anybody that tells me that for the first time will not be here, I'll guarantee it.

“I don't care how good they are or what difference they think they make to the team. If they don't want to play for this club, they'll not be here. I don't care who that is.

“Who is to say who'll be here and who won't? I want players who want to play for this club and take this club forward.

“I'd never say someone doesn't go. They said that about Michael Chopra at Cardiff and not even one week later he was away.”

Etuhu's sudden departure followed a Saturday night bid from Sunderland.

Said Grant: “I'm very disappointed to have lost Dickson. It's amazing the amount of people who support him now who wanted him out when I came to the club. I just wish people had seen that for longer while he was here because he's a top player.

“Unfortunately he's gone to a club that I feel we're more than capable of being on a par with.”

He added: “At seven o'clock, when we arrived back from Exeter, Neil Doncaster called me and said we'd received a text to say there was going to be a bid coming in from Sunderland. That was the first we knew about it and it was like hitting me with a sledgehammer because I didn't want to lose the big fellow.

“Saturday and Sunday were very difficult for me. It was a big blow for me to lose a player of his quality and as a guy, as a person.

“It's been a tough couple of days. Thankfully I was away in Holland on Monday at the training facility because it let me clear my head a little bit.”

Star forward Darren Huckerby, who missed last night's trip to Lowestoft as he recovers from a slight groin strain, was an outspoken critic of Etuhu's sale on Monday.

Grant said: “I think Darren's frustration has come from the fact he think he's doing it for the better of everybody. He wants to be playing in the Premier League and that's where we all want to be.

“I understand Darren's frustration. He wants to play with the best players, I want to be coaching the best players.”

The City boss hopes to replace Etuhu before the Coca-Cola Championship season begins in just over three weeks' time.

He said: “Even if Dickson Etuhu was here I'd still be looking to bring two or three people in. We're going to be looking to replace in an area of the pitch where I didn't want to be doing it. Trying to get the same quality, that's the problem.”

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