Juninho agent moots move to City

Last updated : 11 January 2005 By Ben Collins

Well, it was actually his agent who said it, but the fact remains that a top-class player has picked out City when no previous link has been made with the Blues.

And with boss Kevin Keegan recently saying that City's biggest problem was the lack of a Benarbia/Berkovic type player, then Juninho's interest in City may just be reciprocated.

The skillful midfielder has much Premiership experience from his time with Middlesbrough and was a member of Brazil's World Cup-winning squad of 2002, but he was only a bit-part player in Asia, and he is now 30-years-old.

Juninho has endured an unsuccessful spell at Celtic since moving to Celtic in the summer, starting just 12 games. He has been relegated to the bench in recent weeks and therefore wants to move on to gain first-team football, although since he has ruled out a return to cash-strapped Brazil, it is suspected that he is only looking to boost his retirement fund.

His agent, Brian Hassall, insisted Juninho's number one choice would be to stay on at Celtic and win over manager Martin O'Neill, but he confirmed City would fit the bill should he have to move on, although any official contact is yet to be made by the Blues.

"He is a fan of Kevin Keegan's style of play," said Hassall. "It would not be a bad move for him It was a thought at one stage. If you are not going to get a game under one manager you look for another whose style of play suits you."

A return to Brazil is another option available, with Botafogo rumoured to be interested, but Hassall added: "Juninho doesn't want to go there. He wants to stay in Britain."

Juninho has recently questioned why O'Neill brought him to the club after seeing his chances limited and believes the transfer window is the ideal time for him to leave.

He told the Daily Record: "The manager has had a lot of chances to put me in his team but it hasn't happened. That's why I feel out of his plans.

"If that is the case, then this is the opportunity for me to go. That would be good for the club and good for me because, if I have no part in his plans, there is no point in remaining here waiting for a chance that never comes."