Stuart Pearce, the former manager of Manchester City, has disclosed the reasons for the team’s 2005 sale of Shaun Wright-Phillips to Chelsea.
In the summer transfer window of 2005, Wright-Phillips was traded to Chelsea for a cost of £21 million, ending his nine-year tenure at the Manchester club.
The winger rejoined Manchester United for a fee of £9 million after three years at Stamford Bridge.
Nevertheless, the manager who had to handle this departure at the time has recently provided some insight into the behind-the-scenes problems with this specific transfer agreement.
Manchester City vs. Aston Villa: Pearce claims City had to sell Wright-Phillips in order to maintain the team.
Pearce discussed the circumstances that resulted in City selling Wright-Phillips to Chelsea in a talkSPORT interview.
ADVANCED CITY STORIES
“When I managed nine games at the end of the season as manager of Manchester City, I was acutely aware of the financial situation of the football club, as in it was bust, to be quite honest with you,” he stated.
“Look, we’ve got an offer, £21m will be paid in cash on Monday morning from Chelsea, and if you don’t sell him we’ll go bust as a football club,” the chief executive told me over the phone, I believe two weeks before the season began.
“Now, I understood before we had that chat that the club had to maintain its standing if I found myself in this circumstance, whether it be the chief executive, myself, or anybody else.
“But the most important thing for me was to put out there the expectation. Don’t try to cheer people up; just say look, this is where we’re at right now. As a football team, we have no money. We had to sell Shaun Wright-Phillips and [Nicolas] Anelka six months ago, but the club still needs to be a Premier League team.”
The Englishman made 274 appearances in all competitions throughout his two stints with the Citizens, tallying 48 goals and dishing out 23 assists.
Wright-Phillips scored 10 goals and dishevelled 18 assists in 125 games for Chelsea, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, and League Cup along the way.
If Pearce’s account of the club’s financial predicament at the time is accurate, then selling Wright-Phillips was unquestionably the right move, particularly considering that it might have contributed to Sheikh Mansour’s 2008 takeover.