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Tootle's 'slug' goal celebration

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

City to step up Samaras chase after Fowler exit

Manchester City will intensify their efforts to land Georgios Samaras from Heerenveen following the shock departure of Robbie Fowler.

The veteran striker's stunning return to Liverpool has left a gaping hole in City's striking options but also generated around £1million in saved income.

That cash will now be used to try to prise Samaras away from the Dutch club after the 20-year-old decided to go on strike rather than return to training after the Dutch FA ruled Heerenveen's £9million asking price was not too high.

Having previously offered only £3million for the highly-rated Greek striker, City's revised bid will still be some way short of Heerenveen's valuation.

However, Blues officials hope they will buckle knowing the transfer window shuts on Tuesday.

Although Fowler made just four substitute appearances in the Barclays Premiership this term, many City fans are genuinely sad to see the player Kevin Keegan paid £6million for three years ago leave Eastlands.

Yet it would also be true to say Fowler did not fit into the mould Blues boss Stuart Pearce prefers and there was next to no chance of his £35,000-a-week contract being renewed at the end of the season despite his recent hat-trick against Scunthorpe.

'Liverpool are Robbie's dream club and he wanted to leave and rejoin them,' Pearce told the club's website. 'If I refused him this opportunity of fulfilling his ambition, it would not be good for him or Manchester City.

'We wish him well for the future and thank him for his efforts.'