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By ESPN Staff

Man City rubbish Distin Middlesbrough link

Manchester City have rejected suggestions they have given Sylvain Distin permission to talk to Middlesbrough over a potential move to the Riverside.

Distin has yet to sign a contract extension with City and with his present deal due to expire next summer, the Blues know they risk losing the 29-year-old for nothing in 12 months.

However, while Boro boss Gareth Southgate and Portsmouth's Harry Redknapp have both expressed an interest in the stylish French defender, City insist there has been no recent contact from the Teesside outfit.

Instead, Blues officials expect Distin to be among their travelling party which heads to China on Tuesday for a two-match trip that will see them face Shanghai Shenhua on Friday and Kashima Antlers on Sunday.

'Sylvain has not been given permission to speak to any club and he will be travelling with us to China,' said a City spokesman.

Two players who will be staying behind are Andy Cole and Nedum Onuoha.

Cole has been nursing a minor knee problem, while Onuoha has still not fully recovered from a calf strain he picked up in the first week of pre-season training.

Neither player is thought to be in danger of missing the Premiership opener at champions Chelsea on August 20 but Blues boss Stuart Pearce believes they would both be better served by remaining at home for further physiotherapy rather than travelling to the Far East.