Pellegrini: No January exits
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has dismissed suggestions a number of his apparent fringe players could leave the club in January.
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The likes of Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards, Jack Rodwell and Edin Dzeko have all been linked with loan or permanent moves in the mid-season transfer window.
Pellegrini insists all remain important members of his squad and he has no intention of letting any move out.
Striker Dzeko, who has struggled for game time due to the form of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo, was suggested as a potential Arsenal target in reports recently.
Asked specifically about the Bosnian, Pellegrini said: "I am not thinking about that. There are a lot of rumours that are not true.
"The squad we have had from the beginning is the squad we need so it would be very strange that one player can go out in January."
Centre-back Lescott is now in the final year of his contract while fellow defender Richards has put off signing a new deal as he bids to secure a regular first-team place.
Midfielder Jack Rodwell has struggled to make an impression at the Etihad Stadium due to a succession of injuries since his move from Everton last year.
Speculation has increased around City English players as there is a perceived threat to their prospects of playing at next summer's World Cup if they are not first-team regulars.
But when asked if any of them might move, Pellegrini said: "No, they will remain here in the squad.
"Lescott has been playing the last games, Micah Richards has had injuries half of the season but he played against Plzen in the Champions League and he played against Sunderland.
"Of the last four games he has played two, so the English players, Spanish players, Argentinian players are all part of our squad and we need all of them.
"Rodwell also has been injured, maybe three or two and a half months of the season."
Pellegrini was speaking at a press conference to preview his side's midweek Barclays Premier League trip to West Brom.
During the briefing he confirmed captain Vincent Kompany was poised to return after 10 games out with a thigh injury.
With fellow central defender Matija Nastasic absent with a calf injury, the hugely influential Belgian's return is timely as City look to address their poor away form.
While City have been imperious at home, winning seven out of seven, they have lost four of their six away.
Kompany has suffered a series of different muscle injuries over the past two years, raising concerns over his long-term fitness, but the club are confident he is ready to return.
Pellegrini said: "He is 100 per cent right, yes.
"He was injured when we played against Everton eight weeks ago, so maybe we waited a little bit more (for him) to come back to the team because the other times he was saying he was absolutely sure that he was 100 per cent but maybe he wasn't.
"We gave him one or two weeks more."
Kompany's organisational, leadership and defensive skills have been sorely missed and the significance of his return is acknowledged by Pellegrini, even if his praise for other defenders only occasionally slips.
He said: "He is one of the best. He is very complete in all senses.
"In one-v-ones, heading, he has a lot of speed, so he is very complete.
"But, I repeat, he is a very important player but we can play without Vincent Kompany.
"All of the last games we won without Vincent and we lost with Vincent against Aston Villa.
"I don't think this team depends on one player. We have other defenders, (Martin) Demichelis, Lescott, Nastasic, and they are doing very well also - or very bad sometimes - so we have a squad and now the return of Vincent is very important.
"But I repeat, in the last five (domestic) games, we just conceded one goal against Sunderland."
Pellegrini refused to get involved in a war of words with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who has claimed City are under pressure to win the title because of the strength of their squad.
The Chilean said: "I don't know what other managers say.
"We have a very strong squad but I also know that five or six other teams also have.
"I don't decide on comments that other managers say."