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By ESPN Staff

Man City reject Gartside's 'tapping-up' slur

Manchester City have defended themselves against allegations from Bolton chairman Phil Gartside that they 'tapped up' new signing Dietmar Hamann.

The German midfielder signed for City on Wednesday, ending a bizarre 24 hours which saw him initially leave Liverpool for Bolton before completing the Blues deal.

Having already informed Bolton he no longer wished to join them, the Trotters felt they had little option other than to let Hamann move - with City stumping up around £400,000 compensation - although Gartside was distinctly unimpressed by the conduct of Hamann and City.

However, the Eastlands outfit have been quick to respond, insisting their conduct was totally above board at all times.

'It must have been a huge blow for Bolton to lose a player of Dietmar Hamann's calibre,' said City communications director Paul Tyrrell.

'But we conducted ourselves in a proper manner.'

Relations between the two clubs have been frosty since City launched a well-publicised bid for Stelios Giannakopoulos on the opening day of last season, the timing of which angered Bolton.

However, the Eastlands club have been surprised by the voracity of Gartside's comments, given Stuart Pearce spoke to Sam Allardyce about the situation.

'He has been tapped up by Manchester City,' Gartside told Sky Sports News.

'Obviously, something went on that we weren't aware of because he was very keen to sign and told Liverpool we were the only club he wanted to sign for.

'I am surprised a man of his experience, and reputation as a captain for his country - that he dealt with us in the way that he did.

'You don't want someone who doesn't want to play for you, obviously a spineless player who doesn't want to play for you and wants to change his mind just for the sake of money. You don't want people like that.'