Shaun Wright-Phillips is walking a very thin line with the City supporters. Hailed as a hero on his return from Chelsea last season, his current contract situation could end with the blues fans turning on the diminutive winger.
In 2005, SWP left the club to join Chelsea in a £21m deal which angered loyal blues supporters, with many feeling that SWP had been ‘persuaded’ to join the Londoners. While most of us knew at the time that SWP would leave the club, it was the manner of his departure which left us with a bitter pill to swallow.
But the architect at the time looked like being his adoptive father, Arsenal legend Ian Wright, and with Wright’s recent comments surrounding Brian Marwood and Garry Cook, it looks likely that SWP will be leaving the club again.
The problem is surrounding a new contract and the vast amounts of money that have been invested in the club. SWP re-signed for the blues last summer just days before the takeover from ADUG and therefore missed out on the kind of contract, and money, that some of the more recent signings would have been offered, such as Gareth Barry or Carlos Tevez.
It goes without saying that SWP, as well as many other seniors who signed before the takeover, wants to be in the same bracket but his rejection of a reported £70,000 a week contract, which is an alleged £10,000 pay rise, is an insult to both club and supporters.
What the England winger, and probably his adopted father, doesn’t realise is that this is likely to be the best deal he will be offered. It is highly unlikely that, at 28, SWP will be courted by the likes or Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid or Barcelona. Even if someone does come in for him in the summer, it would be amazing if they offered the £100,000 per week contract he is seeking. It’s just not going to happen and the sooner he and Ian Wright realise this, the quicker the contract situation can be resolved.
The club are not going to change their mind. Gone are the days of being held to ransom by players holding out for better deals. SWP is not irreplaceable and should he decide to hold out for a better deal that will never arrive, he will quickly find himself frozen out of the team and in doing so damage his chances of appearing at the World Cup.
It would be a shame if the City career of one of the supporter’s most favourite player in recent years should end in this way. The fans watched him leave once and forgave him for that considering the club circumstances at the time.
But once was understandable. Twice will be unforgivable.