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Arsenal can lay down a marker

By ESPN Staff

Pearce still hopeful of Wright-Phillips return

Stuart Pearce remains hopeful Shaun Wright-Phillips will soon be able to rejoin Manchester City.

The 24-year-old was a huge favourite at City and forced his way into the England set-up to win the first of seven caps.

A £21million move to Chelsea followed last July but he soon found he was nothing but a fringe player at Stamford Bridge and as a result missed out on a place in the England World Cup squad.

Pearce, whose side slumped alarmingly in the last third of the season, is keen to take him back to Manchester but knows he cannot afford to buy him back.

He said: 'We would love to get him in but it has been well documented that financially we couldn't get anywhere near Shaun's valuation, but if Chelsea are looking to put him somewhere on loan for the season we would be in the mix for that.

'The club has an affinity for him, Shaun has an affinity with the club and it would give us a great lift if he was to come back.

'That is no surprise to Chelsea because we talked in the window about that possibility and we have talked to them this summer already about that.

'We just want to be kept informed, even if it turns out they don't want to let him go out on loan somewhere.''

Pearce added: 'I was surprised he is not going to the World Cup. He is a very talented player and we all know at City what he can do.

'I'm sure the disappointment of not being in the squad this summer will spur him on for next year. He is that sort of kid.''

With nine of the final 10 games lost last season, Pearce knows he has a major rebuilding job to do over the summer at Eastlands.

David Sommeil, a £4.3million signing in 2003, has been released and loanees Kiki Musampa and Albert Riera have gone back to their clubs, with a number of fringe players also dispensed with.

Pearce is keen to bring in new faces as soon as possible. He said: 'It will have to be a very busy summer.

'Ten players have left the club, which seems a big number but when you narrow it down it is three first-team players, two fringe players and five youngsters.

'It is important for myself to do some business in the next couple of weeks and gets some players before the World Cup comes up and see what happens from there.'